Mapping the Ocean Floor: Marie Tharp 

This learning block represents one week’s work. Aim to watch at least one video and choose at least one activity or project to complete.

There are two videos to choose from about Marie Tharp. The first is suitable for younger kids, and the second will appear to older students. Watch one or both!

Choose an activity

Watch a Marie Tharp Music Video

Watch the ‘Girl Talk’ music video about the life of geologist and cartographer Marie Tharp.

Does this inspire you to try a similar project of your own?

You may want to film yourself acting out Marie’s life, write a song or poem about it, or make up a dance. It can be as short as you like and as silly as you like. Have fun with it!


Make a Playdoh Ocean Map

In this video, you will listen to a book about Marie Tharp called Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea. Then, you will make your own map using playdoh.

You will need:

– a surface to make your map on

– blue playdoh and yellow playdoh (or whatever colours you have!)

– paper

– pencil

– scissors

When you finish, take a photo for your portfolio!


Learn About Sea Floor Spreading

Sea floor spreading happens when two oceanic plates move apart, allowing magma from the Earth’s mantle to rise up through the rift between them. When the magma touches the ocean’s water, it cools and hardens, becoming part of the sea floor. Watch the short video above to see how it works!

Find the Mid-Atlantic Ridge

In this activity, you will find the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Open up Google Maps by clicking here. Make sure the map is displaying in Satellite view. Do you see the part of the world that you live in? Great!

Next, zoom out until you find the Atlantic Ocean.

– Do you see the big line travelling through the Ocean? (HINT: It looks like a long crack snaking through the ocean!) You have found the Mid-Atlantic Ridge!

– What do you observe about the ridge? Do you see how some areas appear darker and some appear lighter? What does this tell us about the form of the ridge in real life?

– What do you think this ridge is telling us about the Earth? Where did it come from?

Go ahead and zoom in on and out on the ridge. Observe the details. Then move around the map. How does the ridge connect to other features on the Earth?

Now you can look at the map drawn from Marie Tharp’s research. Click here to see it! Can you find the Mid-Atlantic Ridge again?

Finally, print out this map from Waterproof Paper. Do your best to draw in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in blue, then label it.

Take a photo and add this to your portfolio!

Books about Marie Tharp

Click on the books below to buy them from Amazon. Or, you can ask for them at your local library!

Ocean Speaks Read Aloud

NOw Let’s Have some fun!