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Green Coral and Fish

Surf Science

As we kicked off our first week of Surf Science we talked about the basics of Chemistry. 

Chemistry is the science of how different materials and substances interact with each other. 


Imagine a lego set with different building blocks, each block is a different shape or color, but when you put them together they create something new. Chemistry is like the instructions of that Lego set. Just like how you can build a castle or a robot with the blocks, scientists use chemistry to make things like medicine and even gasoline for cars.

Week 1
January 18th & 20th

Class Calendar

This week we went through several different labs. We first talked about how all of our ecosystems are connected and how pollution in one ecosystem can make an impact to all of our environmental systems. 

Lab #1:  How are our ecosystems all connected

Materials: Water Colors, Paper, Paint Brushes, Water


What we did:


We explored how people and habitats are all connected. We made a model to understand how ecosystems are different but connected. A model is a representation of what actually occurs in the scientific world to make it easier to understand. Mention why models are important.

We first painted a line of water down the paper to explain that all of Florida’s ecosystems are connected by water. Next we painted coral reefs at the bottom of the page.  Above the water we painted the mangroves, And above the mangroves we painted the pinelands.


Since all of our the ecosystems in Florida are connected to water, they all affect coral reefs. This means that what people do to pinelands will eventually reach the coral reefs.

We then took the brush and put a large drop of black watercolor paint at the top of the paper while holding it upright to demonstrate that actions inland can affect the coral reef because the habitats of Florida are connected by water. We kept adding water until the paint trickled into all of the habitats. The black paint represented the trash and other gross things some people add to different rivers and ecosystems or don’t dispose of properly.

We noticed that eventually the trash reaches the coral reef or comes close. What does this mean for us? What we do matters. We need to take care of the ocean by throwing away our trash properly and recycling. 


Lab #2:  Acid, Bases & PH

Materials: Butterfly Pea Tea, Lemon


What we did:


We learned about acids and bases and how adding acid to something can change it’s ph.


Butterfly Pea Tea ea acts as a base indicator, which means it will change color as the pH level changes. Lemons are high with acid. When the tea combines with the lemon, it will transition its color from blue, basic pH, into a purple-then-pink highly acidic pH.


Our third lab showed the effects on our oceans from extra carbon in our atmosphere. This is called Ocean Acidification. See the video below to see what we did. You can also download the full lab worksheet to go over why the change happens.

Class Syllabus

Watch this video to dive a little deeper and learn more about Ocean Acidification.


This week's homework is to research how you can reduce carbon that goes into our ocean. Take a photo or make a video of how you are going to help keep our oceans healthy and explain why this change will make a difference.

The second part of your homework comes from our surf coaches. Each day for the next two week, do 5 pop ups. Document your work in a chart, video or photos. Forgot how to do a pop up, check out this video.

Email us both of these items by Monday, January 30th and you will get a coupon to pick one item from the Surf Skate Science Treasure Chest.

Week 2
February 1st & 3rd

For our second week of Surf Science, we were visited by the Miami National Weather Service branch of NOAA (The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association). NOAA is an agency that enriches life through science. Their reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as they work to keep the public informed of the changing environment around them.

From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need, when they need it.

NOAA’s mission to better understand our natural world and help protect its precious resources extends beyond national borders to monitor global weather and climate, and work with partners around the world. 

NOAA  holds key leadership roles in shaping international ocean, fisheries, climate, space and weather policies. NOAA’s many assets — including research programs, vessels, satellites, science centers, laboratories and a vast pool of distinguished scientists and experts — are essential, internationally recognized resources. They work closely with other nations to advance our global  ability to predict and respond to changes in climate and other environmental challenges that imperil Earth’s natural resources, human life and economic vitality.


The team of meterologists shared a few ways that they predict our weather.  A meteorologist is a type of scientist that studies the atmosphere to predict and understand earth's weather. They help us prepare for each day's temperatures and let us know to expect rain, snow, or sun.


Weather Balloons

Twice a day, every day of the year, weather balloons are released simultaneously from almost 900 locations worldwide! This includes 92 released by the National Weather Service in the US and its territories. The balloon flights last for around 2 hours, can drift as far as 125 miles away, and rise up to over 100,000 ft. (about 20 miles) in the atmosphere!

Weather balloons, which are made of latex or synthetic rubber (neoprene), are filled with either hydrogen or helium. The sides are about 0.051 mm thick before release and will be only 0.0025 mm thick at typical bursting altitudes! The balloons, which start out measuring about 6 ft. wide before release, expand as they rise to about 20 ft. in diameter! An instrument called a radiosonde is attached to the balloon to measure pressure, temperature and relative humidity as it ascends up into the atmosphere. These instruments will often endure temperatures as cold as -139°F (-95°C), relative humidities from 0% to 100%, air pressures only a few thousandths of what is found on the Earth's surface, ice, rain, thunderstorms, and wind speeds of almost 200 mph! A transmitter on the radiosonde sends the data back to tracking equipment on the ground every one to two seconds. By tracking the position of the radiosonde, we can also calculate wind speed and wind direction. The radiosonde is powered by a small battery.

A parachute, attached to the end of the balloon, allows the radiosonde to fall slowly to the ground at speeds less than 22 mph after the balloon bursts. Each radiosonde contains a mailing bag and instructions on what to do if you find one. About 20% of the 75,000 radiosondes sent up each year in the US are found and returned. These instruments are fixed and reused, saving the government money.

Weather balloons are the primary source of data above the ground. They provide valuable input for computer forecast models, local data for meteorologists to make forecasts and predict storms, and data for research. Computer forecast models which use weather balloon data are used by all forecasters worldwide, from National Weather Service meteorologists to your local TV weatherman! Without this information, accurate forecasts beyond a few hours would be almost impossible!


Videos of Weather Balloons

Weather balloon launch: (from NWS Green Bay, WI)

Mark Rober drops an egg from a weather balloon

Weather Stations

Weather stations are like little houses on the ground that have special instruments inside to measure the weather. These instruments might include a thermometer to measure temperature, a barometer to measure air pressure, and a hygrometer to measure humidity.

These can be purchased for home use and help contribute to our national weather database as part of citizen science.

Hand-held Weather Meters

Hand-held weather meters are smaller instruments that meteorologists can carry around with them to measure the weather. For example, they might use an anemometer to measure wind speed or a rain gauge to measure how much rain has fallen.

What is a citizen scientist?

A citizen scientist is someone just like you who helps real scientists with their work. Scientists study all sorts of things, like the weather, animals, plants, and the environment. But they can't always do all of the work by themselves, so they ask people like you to help them gather information and observe things.

It's like a big adventure where you get to use your curiosity and observation skills to help make new discoveries and learn more about the world around us. By being a citizen scientist, you can play an important role in real scientific research and help make the world a better place!

This's week's lab showed how development and our natural environment can affect flooding in a storm.


  • Clear glass or plastic bowl

  • Plate

  • Cup or pitcher of water

  • Legos

  • Playdough

  • Fish Gravel, potting soil or sand

  • Strainer to drain your gravel


What We Did:

Everglades Environment

  1. Fill a bowl half way with gravel, potting soil or sand.

  2. Create a landscape that mimics the Everglades by keeping most of the ground uncovered. Add a tree or gator only.

  3. Very slowly add water to your everglades environment..

  4. Note how much water is added before your environment floods.


Stilted House 

  1. Fill a bowl half way with dry gravel, potting soil or sand.

  2. Create a building built on stilts where the house does not touch the gravel but is below the top of the bowl. 

  3. Add a car below the house.

  4. Very slowly pour water over your building. 

  5. Note how much water is added before your car is affected.

  6. Keep adding water. How much water does it take to affect your building?

Brickell, Miami (Densely Populated Cities)

  1. Fill a bowl half way with dry gravel, potting soil or sand.

  2. Try to cover every bit of the gravel, potting soil or sand with lego buildings.

  3. Very slowly pour water over your city.

  4. Note how much water is added before your city floods.

Atlanta, Georgia (Clay-based Soil Environments)

  1. Fill a bowl half way with dry gravel, potting soil or sand.

  2. Place a thin layer of play dough over the gravel, potting soil or sand.

  3. Build your city on top of the play dough.

  4. Very slowly pour water over your city.

  5. Note how much water is added before your city floods.

Which environment flooded the fastest? Which environment could handle the most water? Why?


For this week's homework is to you have a few choices (choose 1):


  • Make a poster explaining why each environment reacted the way it did in the experiment.

  • Look at the local weather at and make your own newscast on the weather for the week.

  • Create your own weather device using recycled materials, legos, cardboard or anything you can find around the house.

  • Tell us what a meteorologist does and places that a meteorologist may work. You can make a poster, create a video or write about it.

The second part of your homework comes from our surf coaches. Each day for the next two week, do 5 pop ups. Document your work in a chart, video or photos. Forgot how to do a pop up, check out this video.


Email us at with your video or a photo of your work for a coupon. All homework must be turned in by Monday, February 20th.

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