About the Ocean Exploration Lesson
A lesson on ocean exploration since the 1870s. The reading is accompanied by true/false questions.
• To introduce students to the history of ocean exploration.
Approximately 71 percent of the surface of the earth is covered by the ocean yet very little of the ocean has been explored. Once sailing ships capable of traversing the ocean were built, sailors ventured long distances over the surface of the ocean. During the Age of Discovery, which lasted from 1450 to 1650, European explorers sailed around the world searching for sea routes to replace the overland trade routes to India and China. What creatures lived below the surface in the depths of the water were simply termed “Mysteries of the Deep” which were filled with stories and legends of strange or monstrous creatures. Even as late as the 1850s, Edward Forbes, a British scientist of the time, proclaimed that no creature could survive below 300 fathoms, the equivalent of about 1,800 feet.
However, the viewpoints about the ocean and the marine life it holds changed with the Challenger Expedition that occurred between 1873 and 1876. This British expedition led by Sir Charles Wyville Thomson was named after its main sailing vessel the HMS Challenger. This naval ship was modified for its worldwide journey of exploration and was outfitted with scientific laboratories for natural history and chemistry.