Exploring Gravity's Effect on Ship Stability

A woman in a ship's laboratory in a knit hat and orange rain slicker and wearing orange rubber gloves holding a lumpsucker fish.

In 2017, Jennifer Smallwood sailed on a Fisheries-Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI) research cruise, which was conducting a juvenile walleye pollock survey in the Gulf of Alaska. Learn more about Jennifer’s experience aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson by reading her NOAA Teacher at Sea blogs.

Grade Level: 11-12th grade

Subjects (Focus/Topic): Physics – naval architecture, stability, center of gravity, flotation, buoyancy, weighted average

Average Learning Time: 30 minutes

Description:  Students will be able to describe the role of a naval architect and provide 2 real world job opportunities. Students will be able to describe how center of gravity applies to engineering and everyday life. Students will determine the location of gravity given multiple loads of varying masses with 80% accuracy. Students will determine the gravity value with a precision of three significant figures.

NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson at sea
Click on this image to learn more about the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. Photo credit: NOAA