Earth Month in Genius Numbers: Learn About “Shark Lady” Eugenie Clark and Buoyancy with this Real-World Activity

May 10, 2021 / DIY & Printable

Our planet is the only one known to support life, and it’s up to us to support it back! This month, explore Earth and the geniuses who’ve made it a better place. We’ve put together special game updates, real-life genius stories, and real-world activities to help you.

Share this week’s interactive, printable Earth Month content with your child by clicking the button below, and scroll down for a preview!

Game Update

Check out Osmo Numbers Games for kids for a limited-time “trip” to Japan (only available this month!) to collect new fish and explore landmarks like majestic Mount Fuji.

Genius Spotlight: Eugenie Clark

It’s hard to imagine because we spend most of our time on land, but Earth is actually 70% ocean! The sea supports many lifeforms big and small, with their own food chains and ecosystems. Some people base their entire careers around the ocean, from oceanographers (who study the water) to fishermen (who catch and sell seafood).

One of these people is Eugenie Clark, an American ichthyologist (say that 3 times fast!), which is someone who studies fish for a living. Eugenie’s career was just beginning when scuba gear was invented in the 1940s, making her a pioneer in the field of diving for research purposes. Of all the animals Eugenie met underwater, she loved sharks most. Eugenie thought there was much more to be amazed by than to fear about the species and focused her career on proving this.

One amazing thing is how “buoyant” sharks are. Underwater, the forces of buoyancy and gravity work together to keep fish floating (so they don’t drift up or sink down). While most fish’s bodies restrict them to certain depths, sharks’ extra buoyancy allows them to move freely from deep sea to the surface. Without people like Eugenie brave enough to research subjects that others don’t want to, like sharks, we wouldn’t know half as much about the world around us!

Real-World Activity: Buoyancy Bottles

Have your child this educator-approved activity at home. This week’s printable has instructions with photos!

A fish’s buoyancy depends on whether its body is lighter than the water around it. Sharks’ bodies are more buoyant than other fishes’ mostly because their spines are made of cartilage (which is lighter than bony fishes’ spines) and their big livers are filled with oil (which is lighter than water).

To see buoyancy at play:

  1. Grab two empty water bottles.
  2. Put water in one bottle and oil (like vegetable or canola) in the other.
  3. Drop bottles in a sink, tub, or big container of water. 

Do you notice a difference? The oil-filled “shark” floats because oil is lighter than water, which means it’s buoyant!