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Learners model the ocean currents that carry hot water from the tropics to northern latitudes. By placing small containers of hot and cold water inside a larger container of cold water, learners can see convection currents in action. When learners set up a free account at Kinetic City, they can answer bonus questions at the end of the activity as a quick assessment. As a larger assessment, learners can complete the Bug Blaster game after they've completed several activities.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 11

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • A source of hot and cold water
  • Red and blue food coloring
  • A bucket (about 1 gallon -- clear, white, or some other pale color)
  • Two small (30 ml) measuring cups (like the kind you use to take medicine)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Two large marbles
  • Rubber bands
  • A sharpened pencil or fork


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Processes
      • Weather and Climate
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • use mouse
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • All rights reserved, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2009

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation