at NCSTA 2010


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  • Did anything go wrong?
  • Out story begins in 7th grade when Adam and Paul ended up at the same junior high school in rural Connecticut. Over the next six years, we would become close friends and develop a common interest in marine science.
  • During high school, we both became interested in marine science and participated in what was know as the “Aquanaut” program.
    We were fortunate to be selected to participate in a cruise aboard the R/V Edwin Link where, along with our Canadian counterparts, we got to experience first hand how a research cruise is conducted.
    I like to point to this experience as the one that set me down the road to a career in science. The thrill of descending to the depths of Lake Erie in a submersible to see a previously uncharted shipwreck was a defining moment for me.
  • After graduation, Adam begin to study ocean engineering at URI and Paul entered into a marine biology program at LIU.
    Paul continued his work with a Masters degree from NC State and followed his skills and interest into the classroom as a middle school science teacher in 2001.
    Adam used his degree and skills to become a research technician in physical oceanography at UConn. Along the way, he earned a Masters degree in marine science. In 2009, Adam took his expertise to the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
    It was in 2009, that we decided to follow through on a plan we had tossed around for years: exploiting our friendship to provide a unique educational opportunity for Paul’s students.
  • The Department of Education, National Science Teachers Association, and North Carolina Department of Public Instruction all stress the importance of exposing students to the process of science and authentic experiences.
  • Scientists, too, are under pressure to make sure that their research is grounded in education. Outreach is a part of most grant applications from federal agencies.
    You hear the phrase “broader impact statement” a lot these days.
  • Along comes an opportunity to put our ideas into practice.
    The goals: establish a long-term time-series of the Agulhas current using an array of deep-water moorings measuring temperature, salinity, and current across this intense western boundary current. Be able to measure heat and salt transport, to better understand the impact of the Agulhas on larger-scale ocean circulation patterns.
    Our ship of opportunity, the research vessel Knorr from Woods Hole, considered something of a flagship among the international oceanographic fleet.
  • The project had, from the outset, had established “partnerships” with several schools, with an official cruise website. We even had a person whose sole purpose was to document the cruise and interact with the visiting school groups. Dallas Murphy, a distinguished author and playwright, accompanied us on the cruise, keeping and daily journal and taking plenty of pictures and video.
    The website was originally intended to provide a means to have an e-mail exchange with students from the various groups. Unfortunately, due to what I later understood was a scheduling mix-up and a general lack of communication, this dialogue failed to materialize. The result is a rather static page, and while Dallas’ journal entries are naturally extremely well-written, I believe their overall impact was minimal.
  • My goal was to take the class through more or less the full experience of going on a real oceanographic research cruise, from my perspective as a member of the science crew. From the trip to Africa, the preparation and setup, life aboard a ship at sea, including our day-to-day activities, and of course a little of the science behind our project.
    I felt it was also important to emphasize the more enjoyable aspects of the trip, the sense of adventure and exploration. I wanted to describe how science can open your eyes to the larger world, and have experiences that very few jobs allow.
  • The most important lesson
  • We had both experienced the gap between what students understand about science and what scientists are doing.
  • We had both experienced the gap between what students understand about science and what scientists are doing.
  • Let’s take a look at what the blog looks like. What you will see represents the end product of several weeks of blogging by Adam, with student comments.
  • To make blogging from field research possible, teachers need two things: #1 is a blogging platform.
    There are many blog tools available. We chose Edublogs because my district already had a site license. We later migrated to Wordpress installed on our school’s servers. This afforded us a lot of flexibility while maintaining complete control over our blog and our students’ comments. Free hosted options include and
  • #2 is a relationship with a field or lab researcher.
    Obviously, Adam and I had a built-in advantage in this regard. To help more teachers we propose the establishment of an online clearinghouse that will match up willing scientists with teachers. We seek the funding necessary to complete this project and partners to help make it happen.
    If teachers are interested in signing up, go to and register to be contacted when the site is ready for primetime. You can also view links to the resources and samples mentioned in this presentation.
  • at NCSTA 2010

    1. 1. Blogging With Scientists in the Field Adam Houk University of Miami Miami, FL Paul Cancellieri Durant Road Middle School Raleigh, NC
    2. 2. Overview • Who are we? • Why did we do this? • What worked? What didn’t? • What is the future? How can I get in on this?
    3. 3. Paul & Adam
    4. 4. Paul & Adam
    5. 5. Motivation: From two different perspectives, we both recognized the need for students to develop a better understanding of science as a profession and demonstrate how research is conducted.
    6. 6. "NSTA recommends that the curriculum offer links to the real world by connecting the classroom to the community through field trips, speakers, and local partnerships." "Though research shows that all students can learn and succeed in science, all students will not become scientists nor achieve the same level of understanding. Rather, the goal is to create a scientifically literate society crucial to our increasingly complex and technological world."
    7. 7. “AAAS and other scientific organizations, along with NSF and other funding agencies, are encouraging scientists to get more involved in activities aimed at public outreach and engagement.”
    8. 8. Ship: R/V Knorr Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Cruise dates: April 4 – 24, 2010 The Agulhas Current Time-Series Experiment (ACT) Principal Investigator: Dr. Lisa Beal
    9. 9. The David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center, North Miami, Florida M.A.R.R.I.N.E Academy at North Miami Beach Senior High School, North Miami Beach, Florida Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, Brooklyn, New York Sandringham School, Hertfordshire, England Ocean View Secondary School South Africa Houtbay Secondary School South Africa The “official” outreach effort:
    10. 10. The journey does not end When the cruise is over…
    11. 11. How?
    12. 12. Blogging
    13. 13. + = Simple, Interactive Student/Scientist Collaboration
    14. 14.
    15. 15. Blog Tools
    16. 16.