Frequently Asked Questions: Teachers


What resources does WHOI offer K-12 teachers?
The mission of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) encompasses research and higher education. As resources permit, the Institution provides outreach and curriculum materials for elementary, secondary, and continuing adult education.

To assist educators in preparing curricula or teaching units on subjects in oceanography, WHOI’s Education, Information, and Sea Grant offices created a teacher packet. Single packets are available at no charge.

You can order a teacher packet by contacting the WHOI Information Office, MS #16, 93 Water Street, Woods Hole, 02543; Phone: (508) 289-2252, or e-mail:

Additionally, WHOI joined forces with Turnstone Publishing Group to produce eight books on ocean science for students in grades 4-8. Extensive teaching and structured classroom activity guides are available throughTurnstone Publishing.

Other Resources
Teachers and students may be particularly interested in following the progress of WHOI’s newest research vessel Atlantis.

Links to other on-line voyages:

“Research and Education: Volcanoes, Exploration, and Life” (science cruises aboard research vessels, including WHOI’s R/V Atlantis with Alvin and Remotely Operated Vehicle Jason)

NOVA Online Special Report (June 29, 1998)

Link to Teacher Resources:

For Falmouth-area teachers:
As a member of the Woods Hole Scientific and Technology Education Partnership (WHSTEP), WHOI advises and shares information and resources with local science educators. WHOI is also a participating member of the Massachusetts Marine Educators and the Massachusetts Partnerships to Advance Learning in Mathematics and Sciences.

WHOI scientists also serve as judges each year for science fairs at Falmouth Academy and Falmouth (MA) public schools, and the institution offers several prizes.

Can my students contact a WHOI scientist with research questions?
Because of the volume of calls received by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and because the scientists are busy working, we ask the public to call our Information Office 508-289-2252. The Information Office works hard to find the requested information and serves as a conduit for information from the scientists.

Can I bring my class to visit WHOI? What will we see?
School groups can visit the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Exhibit Center. Visitors will learn about the Institution’s ocean science research and the vessels and tools developed by WHOI engineers and scientists for use in that research. Short videos provide an introduction to WHOI, show a day in the life of the deep submersible Alvin, and highlight the 1985-1986 discovery and exploration of the wreck of the Titanic. Visitors can step inside a full-size model of the inner sphere of Alvin and imagine life at the ocean floor while watching vivid footage taken at deep-sea hydrothermal vent sites. Other videos explain how these vents form and give up-close views of the unusal life forms that live around the vents. An interactive exhibit features whale and dolphin research and explores the roles sound and hearing play in the lives of marine mammals. For more information and a group reservation, call 508-289-2663.

WHOI recommends that, while in Woods Hole, school groups also visit the National Marine Fisheries Serviceís aquarium. For aquarium information, call 508-495-2001.

Does WHOI offer opportunities for teachers to go to sea?
Unfortunately, such opportunities are extremely limited. However, the Sea Education Association (SEA), based in Woods Hole, offers such opportunities for teachers. For more information, visit the SEA Web site or contact them at P.O. Box 6, Woods Hole, MA 02543. Phone 800-552-3633