Bermuda Triangle: Death Trap or Fake News?

Contributor: Suzanne Riordan. Lesson ID: 13316

Christopher Columbus, Navy pilots, and experienced sailors--they all had problems, died, or disappeared in this area. Is it the most dangerous place in the ocean? Get the facts and solve the mystery!

categories

Earth Science, United States

subject
Science
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio:

Watch Bermuda Triangle: what happened to Flight 19? from the BBC to learn about one of the most mysterious disappearances that occurred in the Bermuda Triangle:

  • What do you think really happened to Flight 19?

The Bermuda Triangle is an area of the Atlantic Ocean that lies between Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Miami, Florida: 

Bermuda Triangle map

It has been the scene of instrument failures, accidents, and mysterious disappearances since 1492!

When Christopher Columbus' ships sailed through this area, the sailors saw strange glowing balls of light in the sky, their compasses pointed in the wrong direction, and the sea rose up as if in a storm although there wasn't any wind!

Since then, many stories of strange occurrences in the Bermuda Triangle have been recorded.

Let's explore some of the stories and start solving the mystery!

Read the stories about 10 Disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, by the Editors of Publications International & Marie Willsey for HowStuffWorks. After reading each story, write down your best guess as to whether this was a mysterious disappearance or an explainable tragedy.

  • Did you write you best guess for each story?

Great! Now, let's explore some of the solutions to the mystery that people have put forward.

Some Possible Solutions to the Mystery

There are many proposed solutions to these instrument problems, strange phenomena, disappearances, and deaths.

Here are some of the more unusual explanations:

There are many scientific explanations as well:

Explore a few more scientific explanations with the short videos found below.

Rogue Waves

Watch Rogue Waves from SciShow:

Magnetic Fields

The History Channel discusses magnetic fields in Bermuda Triangle's Mystery Solved? | In Search Of (Season 2) | History:

Coral Reefs

A scientist in Bermuda discusses the dangerous coral reefs in the area in Bermuda Triangle Mysteries: Supernatural Or Science? | Today:

The last theory is that there is no mystery.

Every day all over the world, ships sink and planes go down. Bad equipment and human error can be blamed for many accidents, and many times the wreckage is never found. The Bermuda Triangle is not a mysterious place. It is just like everywhere else.

  • But what about the strange, bright balls of light that Christopher Columbus and some other travelers through the Bermuda Triangle have described?

Science can explain that one, too!

It was likely a rare type of lightning known as Ball Lightning, explained in this video from Earth & Space News:

  • So, what do you think?
  • Is the Bermuda Triangle a mysterious death trap for ships and planes, or a fake news story?
  • Which is your favorite theory of explanation?

Move on to the Got It? section for a little more information and a chance to express your opinion!

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