Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea

The ocean in its vast beauty has a world of its own. Mountains and crevices invite creatures to reside, maneuver, and blend. Snorkelers gain a glimpse of the beauty hidden from the wavy surface. Stories and movies have the ocean as its setting. Robert Burleigh brilliant biography introduces you to the beginning of oceanography in his book, Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea: Marie Tharp Maps the Ocean Floor, illustrated by Raul Colon.

Science didn’t know much about the ocean floor. It was once thought to be unmoving. Marie Tharp changed that thinking – but not without opposition. Her ideas were different, challenged, and not accepted quickly. Marie loved maps. Her father drew maps of our American landscapes from state to state. She used this passion in her job.

View the book trailer here.

Marie spent twenty years gathering data brought back from deep ocean adventures, of which she was excluded from because she was a female. (I was surprised at this.)  Marie was determined and persisted. The data proved the possible theory of the continental drift. She turned her data into a picture – a map, a map featuring changes in the oceans floor. Although many still didn’t agree, eventually, Marie’s maps, the ocean floor picture, are the foundation for the knowledge people have today.

To see actual photos of Marie Tharp and an overview of her scientific life, view this 2 min. video clip.

Dr. Nicky Howe portrays herself as Marie Tharp in 2015 Reading Slam. What a fun way for kids to get to know the character and be introduced to the ocean world.

Savorings for reading and writing for Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea:

  • Rich language
  • Biography
  • Persistence – not giving up, working against odds
  • Believing in herself
  • Asking Questions
  • Pursuing Dreams

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