Friday, September 12, 2014

EV Nautilus.

Last year, through the NSTA listserve, an email came across my desk for Juniors in high school to apply to work with the scientists with Dr. Robert Ballard's group.  This opportunity was through the Ocean Exploration Trust.  I don't teach high school, but my own personal daughter has been a long time fan of Dr. Ballard.  She has read most of his books, and usually watches everything he is doing.  We thought it was a long shot, but we had her apply.

The process was easy.  They fill out a form, get a physical, write some essays and wait.  Alex was selected for a SKYPE interview, and eventually was awarded one of 8 slots.  We were beyond excited.  She spent 3.5 weeks this summer at the University of Rhode Island, participating in a class, and learning about the jobs of the scientists who work for OET.  She helped to create this video:

The last part of her journey happened the first week of school.  She flew to Montego Bay with another Honors Research Student, as well as a chaperon and spent a week on the EV Nautilus, Dr. Ballard's research boat.  She was so excited.  Once on board, she worked as a data logger, watching footage from the submersibles and documenting plant and animal life to view later.  She learned a lot about the various roles of everyone on the boat, and really is focusing on studying oceanograph/marine biology and communications in her future.

One of the requirements was to do a SKYPE type session with students at home.  We were able to secure a spot for my elementary school, her high school, and a middle school STEM magnet in our district.
Allison (on the left) and Alex on the right are speaking to our students from the Nautilus. 

Showing footage of their drifter project. 

Our students were so focused on what they were hearing.  

Even though Alex is no longer on the boat, our class continues to check into and leave it up as background when we're working to see what they are up to.  This week we've watched them explore underwater sea mounts which coincides with our Landforms and Oceans unit. I highly recommend checking out the link, and if you're in my district, Alex is available to come to your class and talk to your students about her experience.  

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