Coriolis on a paper map

Conduct a hands-on activity to help students gain a better understanding of the Coriolis effect. In this activity, students use a simple paper-based model to answer questions and discuss the Coriolis effect.

Now you can make a small experiment to see the Coriolis effect by yourself. You need two maps of the Earth, one per each hemisphere, where on each half of the Earth is presented in a circle, with the poles in the centers.

Make a hole in the center of the map with a pencil, place the map flat on the table and hold the pencil on the hole. Now you can rotate the map to simulate the Earth's rotation.

Work with a neighbor to draw one line on the map with a fixed direction, while the other rotates the paper. You will see the deflection of the path due to the Coriolis effect.

Your teacher will guide you with several questions.

In oceanography, we are most interested in how the Coriolis Effect moves winds and ocean currents on the rotating Earth.

Coriolis Effect Activity by Laura Reiser Wetzel (Eckerd College), hosted at the Science Education Resource Center at Carlton College.