17.6.13Posted by Jeanne
I didn't know that Oceanography was a science until this year. I was aware of Marine Biology - I'd dated a cute and very clever marine biologist for a few years - but the study of the oceans as part of Earth Science was new to me before this amazing book. Isn't it great the way homeschool mummies get to learn along with their students? Happy smile.
Oceanography does cover marine organisms, of course, but it also studies ocean currents, waves, plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor; the chemical makeup of water, and the fluid mechanics of the sea. it covers biology, chemistry, physics, geology, physical geography and meteorology. Phew. Pretty impressive!
AO6's scheduled book, The Sea Around Us, by Rachel Carson, is the classic marine science book. Despite having been written in 1951, more than 60 years ago, it is incredible how much of the scientific information is still current. The Deep Ocean truly is the last frontier - even in 2013. We know more about the moon that the ocean floor.
Carson's exquisite prose and eloquent writing style is inspirational. It is like reading poetry. She makes the oceans out to be magical, mysterious living organisms, and you can't help but be carried along by her enthusiasm. You know she loves what she is writing about. This may be the perfect Living Science book. Then look at these vintage illustrations!
The Sea Around Us is unashamedly evolutionist, and the book begins with a description of the making of Earth and the emergence of life, from that worldview. We found that this first chapter provided a great jumping off point for a discussion of what many people believe, and it was good to discuss where we were in agreement, and where our views differ. Later chapters have covered the surface of the sea, the impact of climate, the mystery of the sea floor and the amazing geological structures that are so similar to those on land. Evolutionary content has not been an issue so far, but I suspect it might be later on.
Our book is the 1958 edition adapted for Young Readers by Anne Terry White. Apparently the 1991 edition contains an the additional chapter by Jeffrey Levinton that updates the oceanographic and biological information originally presented by Carson and discusses continental drift, coral reefs, the spread of the ocean floor, the deterioration of the oceans, and the mass extinction of sea life, amongst other issues. I wonder whether some Christians might find some of those topics rather controversial.
Since our book is so old, we've been turning to YouTube for our updated information. Oceanography lends itself so naturally to a visual presentation.
We trust much to pictures, lantern slides, cinematograph displays; but without labour there is no profit, and probably the pictures which remain with us are those which we have first conceived through the medium of words; pictures may help us to correct our notions, but the imagination does not work upon a visual presentation; we lay the phrases of a description on our palette and make our own pictures...This quote is often used to show Mason's disdain for the use of film. I don't think it says that. I think it says use literary methods first, but allows that pictures may help us correct our inaccurate imagination. It is absolutely impossible to imagine bioluminescence until you've seen it. Your imagination can never live up to God's amazing reality. Similarly, some of the amazing marine creatures, and even the phenomenal scale of the ocean floor. Video shows all of this beautifully.
Charlotte Mason Towards A Philosophy of Education p340
So far were only up to Chapter 5 of this lovely book, but here are the videos we've used so far. They are just awe inspiring. The Heavens may declare the glory of God, but so, too, do his oceans.
I'll add to this post as we move through the book. Even if you're not reading along with us, the videos are worth a look as and for themselves. Amazing.
Chapter 1 - we discussed the differing views about how the world began here.
Chapter 2: The Secret Life of Plankton - Tierney Thys
Chapter 3: Fascinating TED talk. On bioluminescence. One evolutionary comment; some adult humour.
Chapter 4: Creatures of the Deep - The video we watched has been removed. This one may be okay.
Chapter 4: National Geographic's Drain the Ocean. Part one here.
Chapter 10: Ben Franklin and the Gulf Stream.