Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field)

by Loree Griffin Burns (Author)

Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion (Scientists in the Field)
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade
Aided by an army of beachcombers, oceanographer Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer tracks trash in the name of science. From sneakers to hockey gloves, Curt monitors the watery fate of human-made cargo that has spilled into the ocean. The information he collects is much more than casual news; it is important scientific data. And with careful analysis, Curt, along with a community of scientists, friends, and beachcombers alike, is using his data to understand and protect our ocean. 

In engaging text and unforgettable images, readers meet the woman who started it all (Curt’s mother!), the computer program that makes sense of his data (nicknamed OSCURS), and several scientists, both on land and on the sea, who are using Curt’s discoveries to preserve delicate marine habitats and protect the creatures who live in them.

A Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book for Nonfiction.

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School Library Journal

Gr 5-8 While the subtitle leads one to believe that the heart of this book is about the science of ocean currents, it's actually about why we need to protect our marine environment. Burns tells the tale of Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer who started to track trash (flotsam) that washed up on the shore near his Seattle home. Through floating sneakers and bath toys that accidentally fell off container ships and a computer program named OSCURS, Ebbesmeyer tracked the currents of the ocean. These experiments led to a discussion of how debris is polluting our oceans and causing harm to marine life. Burns introduces the work of several scientists who are working to clean up ghost nets and other dangerous debris. The well-written narration will keep readers engaged, and it's excellent for reports. The science is clearly explained, and the vivid and lively photographs and well-labeled charts and diagrams help to create interest and build understanding. This title will get readers thinking and possibly acting on these problems."Esther Keller, I.S. 278, Marine Park, NY"

Copyright 2007 Media Source Inc.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2010
Scientists in the Field
Age Range
10 - 12 years

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