Submarine STEM

Science | Ages 11 - 14

Submarine STEM 11-14 provides middle school / lower secondary school science and design and technology teachers with an engaging resource to explore the science and engineering of submarine exploration. The 6 lessons of Submarine STEM 11-14 are based on the exploratory submersible journeys undertaken as part of the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey. The XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey was the first Nekton Mission and the first multidisciplinary scientific research program to measure the health and resilience of the deep ocean off Bermuda, the Sargasso Sea (between Bermuda and Canada) and off Canada’s east coast.

Submarine STEM challenges students to consider different aspects of submarine design. Each lesson contains a standalone practical investigation examining the scientific principles involved in safely exploring the deep ocean. The deep ocean is extremely difficult to observe and until recently marine science was conducted entirely from the surface. Students will follow in the footsteps of pioneers in deep ocean exploration, considering the different scientific concepts from forces and pressure to material choices needed for surviving in this inhospitable yet amazing environment.


Lesson 1: Submarine shape investigation

This lesson establishes the story of the unit. Students will use the information they learn to design a submarine for exploring the ocean depths.

Lesson 2: Submarine buoyancy investigation

This lesson encourages students to investigate hands-on the property of neutral buoyancy, and to discuss its importance in terms of submarines.

Lesson 3: Submarine launch investigation

Students develop an understanding of structural strength and stability. They will design and build a crane suitable for lifting and moving a weight.

Lesson 4: Submarine pressure investigation

Students investigate the effects of pressure increasing with depth, and the implications that this has for submarine design.

Lesson 5: Submarine materials investigation

Students will start by reflecting on historical submarine designs. They will then debate materials choices for building a submarine.

Lesson 6: Submarine life support investigation

This lesson investigates the life support systems needed to keep humans alive in a sub. Students will share and evaluate their submarine designs.



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