Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch- Changes

August 15, 2017 at 8:39 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , )

For anyone that bought a start-up home thinking, “This could be a nice place with a few changes and upgrades”, but then two days into pulling the carpet up to see those original hardwoods they hoped for they’re faced with stained laminate from twenty years prior, .  . . well this post is for you.  I’ve been there too for in my elementary to high school years my parents would buy a home once a summer to fix and rent or sell, and then I faced this once again after returning home from college graduation to rent a home (built in 1912) from my folks.

“I’m just going to repaint the living room.  Well I need to tear the existing forty seven layers of wallpaper first.  Suppose I should remove this drop ceiling to open up the room.  Looks like the plaster is coming off with the wall paper.  Should probably take off the original crown molding to sand and repaint.  So I need to hang drywall now and stamp the ceiling.”

You see, one thing leads to the next.  It is easier to build than work around and that in essence is the renovation process to the STEAM lab.  Not that I didn’t take that into consideration.  I knew there would be those days of “What was I thinking?” and “Seriously!”, but you roll with the punches and punishment.

So what have been some of the obstacles?  Knowing the depth of the cinder block.  If electrical lines where run through or behind them.  Where the lines were.  Cutting out steel pegboard to expose the outlets.  Finding potable and gray water lines as not to sink into them while running hanging rails.  Climbing ladders and hanging in contorted positions while on them is a skill I think I can sell as a new crossfit method.

So what has been accomplished?

The bathrooms are no more.  The toilets were officially taken out last week, and these past four days have been committed to turning one of those into a storage closet.  The rails are hung with six inch spacing between them.  You never know what you’ll use/keep as a teacher and the railing allows for shelves to unsnap and move up or down accordingly.  Suppose you can never have enough space to store items.  Here is the evolution of this room.

Added rails to each pop-out column dividing the walls, assists in utilizing a “take it” basket set-up.  Again, the vertical track has multiple slots to adjust where and how close to snap the baskets.  I spent today (8/15/17) filling these up with makerspace materials, puzzles and shells, math manipulatives, and robotics.  There is more to hang, but that will come after the cabinet install.

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Then there is pegboard run along the bottom of two of the dry erase boards.  I suppose another frustration is the shopping, because some things are not as they appear in the spec sections.  The pegboard was advertised as 32″w x 96″h and 32″w x 48″h.  I needed two of each, but when the delivery came all pieces were 32″ x 16″.  It worked out, but I was hoping for larger pieces to make cutting around the electrical outlets easier, while also avoiding placing screws so close to them.  C’est la vie.

The ceiling tiles are looking outstanding and I’m placing them in order based on the periodic table, with a few exceptions due to restraints on length of the room and/or working around light fixtures and HVAC.  I thought spinning them in different directions would be a fun twist for the squirrels that will be occupying this lab.

So, what is left?  Much.  The cabinets mentioned earlier will be placed on either side of the windows and three foot depth counter with shelves and space for terrariums and aquariums will run under the windows.  I have 10″ diameter pvc pipe coupled with two 45 degree elbows that will hold repurposed grocery sacks for campus clean-ups/trash data tracking.  This will be mounted near the exit door.  I have enough pvc left over to create a debris container for the outdoor science shelter, same as what you would see on the beach to collect fishing line.  The orbiting moon model will for sure be a time consuming project.  We will be using curtain railing, like that from a hospital/hospice room.  The issue is the railing cannot be hung from the tiles, but must go up into the ceiling joists.  The moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circular pattern, but more of an oblong egg.  But, a few weekends into the school year and I should have a solid layout for the path.  The recording studio will be the coup de gras (grace), the hanging of the door will be the most difficult part and one I will need assistance from maintenance.  Yet, hanging the foam sound diffusers and building a bench will not be a difficult task to manage.  If you have thoughts on bedding and/or upholstery for the bench, please comment below.  It will be an L style to host multiple students or just one to lounge while recording their audio/video projects.

First things last.  Let’s get the counter/cabinets installed to house items and clean up a bit.  I have more than 20 stem project boxes that were delivered to the room and need to find a place for them.  This is a good problem to have.  Also, other teachers are invading the school and everyone wants to drop off their “science” stuff.  So like prior mention, you can never have enough storage.

 

What else?  Well . . . I won’t go into too grave detail, but will leave you with two words.  Touch tank.

David, hit it.

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Full STEAM Ahead

June 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm (MATH, News, Science)

Full STEAM Ahead

Thank You Lowes

The idea behind project Full STEAM Ahead is to renovate an existing classroom into a full functioning lab encompassing areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM). The STEAM lab will serve as a hub for all elementary grade levels offering students an opportunity to create, explore through hands-on experiences, and develop critical thinking skills. The lab will be a meeting point for science clubs (robotics, environmental stewards, marine biologists, and horticulturalists). This lab will provide professional development for staff allowing homeroom teachers, specialized educators, and the STEAM facilitator to blend teaching styles and correlate on the development of lessons and activities related to the elementary curriculum-standards, as well as create cross-curricular strands allowing grade levels to intermingle on similar topics and provide a greater depth of learning. The STEAM lab will provide educators the opportunity to co-teach and students alternative methods to learn from one another. One of the STEAM lab’s objectives will fulfill multiple facets of learning. This being that all students have access to various forms of technology in which they can voice their findings and discoveries on social media platforms, learn to code and operate robotics, track and record data for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, while also being able to explore by means of interactive digital labs, and supplementing as a resource for research. Another objective is for our students to increase their understanding in science and mathematics and become proficient learners in these areas. Overall the goal of this renovation project is to have each student increase their appetite for one of the many fields science has to offer, and peak those interests by supplying these young inquisitive minds with an environment that engages and stimulates.

 

The vision of this renovation will host a recording studio for students to express themselves artistically by way of digital medium.  Students will have the ability to podcast, create digital content such as videos, or design augmented reality aurasmas. A dark room will be constructed for vermiculture study. An interactive whiteboard and projector will be allow for students to research while simultaneously manipulate digital labs.  Storage will be added to house robotics, manipulatives for math activities, along with science equipment.  Pegboard walls and removable crates will be wall mounted to aid in the utilization of maximum space for storing equipment and tools.  A chemical storage cabinet will be wall mounted to keep non consumable materials safely secure and out of reach when not in use.  A recessed wall mounted pull down eye rinse will be included as an added safety measure.  A display section will be created to bear experiments and projects, as well as hold ecosystems such as terrariums and aquariums (salt and fresh water) for observation.  A magnetic wall will be installed for exploratory learners, and a track will be fixed to the ceiling operating a moon model as it travels on the orbital path.  The ceiling tiles will each be painted to match the periodic table along with examples of how each element is used as a human resource.  PVC pipe will be mounted and run along the lab for students to explore auditory senses and manipulate sound energy.  For shelving of science related books, we will have a builtin tree shaped bookcase.  To maintain debris awareness, an acrylic container will be fixed to a wall.

Timeline

June 7th, 2017 Lowe’s Home Improvement (Cape Carteret Branch) presented the $50, 852.21 grant to begin renovation of our classroom into a functional STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) lab.  News footage is below.

WNCT Channel 9

Carteret Time News Article

June 13th, 2017 Lowe’s Volunteers come to prime and paint the classroom Sonic Blue.  The before . . .

The during . . .

Lowe’s volunteers Liz and Lisa primed the walls covering the once purple, eggshell white, and dark blue cinder blocks.  I scraped liquid nail that once held the bulletin board (which will be moved to the opposite side of the classroom)  and removed the bathroom railings and dispensers (these were sent back to Central Office HQ).  Also on this day our friend Al Sirkin from ENC Creations (ENC-Creations via instagram and twitter) stopped in to measure the section where the magnetic wall will hang.  The plans for the magnetic wall will be to bend the metal around corner of the wall to the storage room (see pic of Lisa priming blue wall below), paint it black, punch out spots for the door stop and air control box, and cut terms; magnetic, attract, repel, iron, ore, and +, – symbols at the top of the wall.  There will also be a rubber edge run along the side of the metal to prevent kiddos from cutting themselves.  Lowe’s  customized a tree bookcase which is in the first stages of development.

 

 

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Erosion Engineering

January 29, 2017 at 9:00 am (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Alright stop!   Collaborate and listen.  The Little V’s are back with a brand new invention.  Vantaztic Learning has some mad skills on the mic, but even I can’t touch the brilliance that came from these young problem-solvers.  Your mind will be blown back to the 90’s to when we thought this track was solid,

Image result for vanilla ice 90s

as you listen to these clever devils collaborate.  See the thought process unfold for yourself as the scientists explain how their prototypes will slow beach erosion.

Makerspaces Engineering Erosion Project

Some background info for our readers:  The kids spent a day to design a blueprint of how their idea would look and created a write up of how it works.

Makerspaces Engineering

Day two (this day) was focused on creation of their sketch.  Next week they will test their project to see if it does in fact work, and if for some reason not, back to the drawing board.  For our fourth event day, we’ve invited a couple of professionals from our local community with background knowledge and first hand experience in beach renourishment to visit and listen to the students as they present their ideas, discuss the successes and drawbacks of the pretesting, and share their improvements.  Suppose we’ll have to wait to add more until testing and discussion take place, so for now . . . hit the hi-hat.  Word to your mother.

Makerspaces Engineering
Makerspaces Engineering

 

Makerspaces Engineering

We’re back and ready to share what worked and what needed modifications.  Our guest shall be here at the end of the month.  Enjoy, we’ll back after this paid programming announcement.

Erosion Wave Model

 

Engineering a Way to Slow Erosion
Wave Erosion Testing

2/23/17 Mr. Rudolph, “Rudi”, stopped in to listen to the young minds share their ideas and models to prevent beach erosion.  Mr. Rudi works for the Carteret County Shoreline Protection in Emerald Isle, NC.  He shared how to combat the erosion issue with the method Carteret County uses, dredging sand onto the beaches.  Fun Fact:  Sand is classified as sand if it is between 1/16-2 mm in size, any larger and it is mud, and then gravel.  Fun Fact:  An average of 1 million cubic yards are pumped onto the beach for a given project.  Fun Fact:  If sand is the erosion problem, then the solution is sand, putting it back to where it belongs.  The kids were engaged and developed terrific questions such as, “Would my hurt the environment?”, “How much sand is used to dredge back onto the beach?”, “How do you know when too much erosion is happening?”, and “What is your favorite part of your job?”.  Super way to end the week.  We are definitely spoiled to have so many resources at our fingertips.

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The Difference Between Winning & Losing

June 8, 2016 at 9:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Growing up in Southern Indiana you’re bound to know, play against, or run into someone, that at one time or another was, or is on their way to becoming a basketball legend.  From 1976-1995 I grew up in Mitchell, In, home of astronaut Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom.   Yet being an astronaut ranked third on the list of things little Jason wanted to be, right behind Superman and (yep) a basketball player.  After all, during the 80’s I watched the greatest man I’ve ever known step onto a court, usually on a week night, making no look behind the back passes and fake up and under lay-ups.  My dad.  When he wasn’t playing he had the tube tuned in on the weekend to watch one of the greatest basketball players that has ever come from my part of the world.  Larry Bird.

Springs Valley Hawks

#42 Uncle Doug & that Larry Bird kid holding the ball

Many a trip was made to French Lick (West Baden aka Springs Valley) from my driveway 19 miles away to either visit the Conrad’s (second cousins) or to play against Valley in junior high and high school games.  Travel 15 miles north and you could watch Damon Bailey (1986-1990) tear up every high school squad in the state.

bnl

Then during the summers as a kid you were kicked to some basketball camp.  It’s Indiana, so toss a coin on the map and that’s the camp you went to.  I spent at least one week a summer for three to four summers 160 miles north east of home at Taylor University.  Taylor’s a private Christian college in Upland, Indiana that has as of late been getting alot of press time each year on ESPN because of their “Silent Night” game.

I was sent to Taylor, not so much for the school’s religious practices or the camp’s reputation but more because my Aunt Jane was a professor there and could/would keep an eye on me, making sure I didn’t destroy the place.  Looking back – I realize now not comprehending the enormity of Rick Mount pulling me to the side for one on one shooting technique.  That’s not an everyday occurrence.  Although at that point in my life I really didn’t grasp the significance of who Mount was. It would be like J.J. Redick stopping by to shoot hoops with your kids.

Rick Mount Lebannon, Indiana - The Brightest Star of High School BasketBall<br /> February 14, 1966<br /> X 11361<br /> credit: Robert Huntzinger - assign

Rick Mount The Rocket

Research him if you’re scratching your head.  The Rocket dropped 61 points on Iowa.

Like I said, you’re bound to run into someone basketball related.  Which brings me 160 miles out of the way to the point of this post.  Coach John Wooden.  A man I knew little about other than he was the coach at UCLA when they won 10,000 national titles.  Not until I was out of college did I become more familiar with him, not from the stand point of basketball, but more so with his philosophy and outlook on life.  I was drawn to it as a moth is to flame.  It resonated with me because it was familiar upbringing that I had heard and watched as a kid from those near and dear.  I later pieced together the similar paths, both born and raised in southern Indiana – obvious.  We both played basketball at Purdue (he representing the college, I the intramural leagues).  He taught while coaching at Indiana State University, while I transferred there to earn my degree in education.  The interest in poetry and writing.

I reference basketball in part because of the role it played in my life and view of this topic of success.  The love and despair the sport brought me.  The hard work and dedication pouring into a goal that was all for not in some eyes.  I know what it is to fail at something you love, or at the very most, the perception of failure as it was at the time.

Here’s some context for the readers: (feel free to skip this bio to the last paragraph)

I was a B-squad player from 6th-8th grade.  In fact I was cut by my 7th grade coach, but he allowed me back on the team after the high school coach (friend of my dad) asked him to keep me around and work with me.  I rode pine every season, but managed a few minutes here and there.  I made the most of the time given by doing the dirty work, chasing and diving for loose balls, playing defense, and grabbing boards (rebounds).   I became a decent defensive player making my mark stealing and deflecting passes.

I worked on my overall game the day after the last game of every season ended.  I played pick up games against older guys at every park in our town and the surrounding towns I could bike and eventually drive to.  Summers were dedicated to a.m. weight training and agility drills, afternoons to shooting, evenings to open gym, nights to more pick up games.  I ate, breathed, slept, and defecated basketball.

Freshmen year provided a break out opportunity.  Many of the guys who played before me were cut and two of the best players were moved up to junior varsity.  A door opens, but with a price.  My father was the coach (which is a whole post in itself).  Let’s just say that year made me stronger mentally and forced me to develop an offense.  I took the criticism from others, “You’re only on the team because of your dad.  You’re only playing or starting because your dad is the coach.”  When truly all his talent had been picked, and the guys that used to play . . .

a.) weren’t that good and were cut.

b.) were five foot three because they hit their growth spurt in 6th grade.

c.) he didn’t have any other options.

I also took on the role as player and not son.  I received his criticism more than others and I understood why and never referred to him as anything other than coach.  He had to prove there wasn’t favoritism and I wanted to show I belonged.  Some nights were just silent rides home after a game or practice.  Silence, that’s how you know he was upset.  We didn’t speak when we got home, and regrettably we didn’t speak much until I was out of high school.  His disappointment in the play of the team stewed in me and escalted my own disappointment. I’m looking at the situation as one proving himself among peers, coach, and dad.  My dad was incredible on the court, and I don’t say that because he is my dad, but because I saw what he could do against others on the court.  Frustration arose from multiple facets.  Being 14-15 years old and working on coordination, applying new skills in games, trying to become someone that could lead a team, and taking coach’s criticism no matter how positive it might have been, I wasn’t hearing it.  Just seeing red.  A whole post in itself.  I learned from that year, became stronger, more developed, relied on my defense, and lived in the gym working on offense.  I made gains,had incredible leap for someone my height (which I was truly proud of), and developed a shot, and  surpassed many ahead of me.  By the end of it all, there were four of us seniors that made it through 1st grade to twelfth playing every year, with one crawling up from zero talent to a respected level.

So you get your moment after making gains and then this.  During my junior year I broke left ankle the day before the sectional game playing pick-up games at the park. My senior year I broke my right ankle in practice on my coaches foot the day before the sectional game.  Two sectionals passed me by.  I’m not going to tell you I was the savior of the team.  Not so.  I do, however know I could and would have contributed to the win.  The game itself was everything.  I was left as a bystander sitting front row only watch as we lost in the first round each year and not a thing you can do but weep when that fluttering dream floats away like ash from a fire.  The last memory of the last game ends with my face buried in a towel when the dwindling few seconds ran off the clock.  I remained buried in that towel until the stands were empty and my teammates were leaving the locker room to board the bus.  That memory will always haunt me.

A younger me had tunnel vision, thinking success meant making it to play at a collegiate level.  Chasing after some ghost.  You can give your life to something, put hours in the gym doing drills, lifting weights, and playing against stronger and taller competition, but life (and injury) have a way of humbling you.  Playing for a college wasn’t in the tarot reading.  We may not always reach our true potential or the goals we set for ourselves. Does that mean we are unsuccessful?  That perception of failure from the one and first true thing I devoted myself to, metastasized within me.  It helped me learn to cope with disappointment.  It guides my focus in other avenues of my life and the drive to reach them.  It pushes me to get back up when I fall.

Coach Wooden’s ideology applies on many levels.  I hope you enjoy listening to his calm demeanor in this TED presentation.  I buy-in to it, at least a few groups of ten views belonging to my IP address.  I thought this post and his presentation would give readers a better understanding of my mindset of where success lies, the way I value determination as well as education, and a microscopic view of how I live my life.  What is success and how do we measure it?  Maybe we share some commonalities here, then again perhaps not.

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Some New, Some Old

February 8, 2016 at 9:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posting some new projects in the works, and some that were already mentioned (new video to view though).  We spent the Friday with a two hour delay planting the germinated Spartina seeds into containers while others constructed the first PVC greenhouse tent that will rest on our raised flower beds.  We’ll take some of the Spartina to the high school’s greenhouse, but thought we could make our own mini versions for BSE’s campus.  Plus it was a great tie in with fractions and measurement.  Who knew that what you learn in school could actually be applied?  More pictures will be added to this post in the days/weeks to come.  It took about a week to create one tent (excluding sheeting).  We still need a few connectors to run our pipe along the ridge of the roof.  They did great working as teams and measuring thrice before cutting.  I think my PVC cutter is on it’s last run.  That brackish water though . . .  sulfur egg fart.  Fifth grade teachers were popping in asking if the septic had broke in the science lab restrooms.  Photography exclusively taken by Natalie.

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Echolocation Clips Below

Interpret Movement Data
Echolocation & Tech
Exploring Echolocation

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Engineering Ideas: Irrigation

January 23, 2016 at 9:00 am (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Meet a group of engineers applying logical reasoning, problem-solving, and mathematical concepts to create an irrigation system to make water flow three feet (without leaking) and disburse into two separate cups evenly.  Students were split into teams to devise an irrigation company name.  These company’s were given a $500,000 budget to use towards materials needed for construction, but before being allowed to purchase, they needed a blueprint design of the construction.  Each member created an illustration and the members of each team voted on which design to use based on budget and style.  After blueprints were approved by the inspector (yours truly), they were allowed to purchase the needed items, such as plastic tubing, cups (plastic & Styrofoam), duct tape, pvc, clay.  All of these items ranged in price by foot and inch from $2,000 – $25,000.  Each company was responsible for keeping up with the budget and making modifications to the blueprints prior to changing the construction.

Prior to beginning this project, we researched what irrigation was, how the Roman Aqueducts were constructed and worked, and focused on ethical procedures – which tied back to our previous knowledge from lessons on deforestation and the estuary/dragonfly pond activities.  With every good intention there usually is some negative impact or consequence.

Irrigation Construction

With that, company’s went to work figuring out how their constructions should be made, placed, and would work.  To keep the ethical point in mind, we added a stipulation.  Teams had three chances to make their irrigation system work without springing a leak.  However if a leak occurred, a company would have to shell out $50,000 for EPA violations.  The issue the people in Flint, Michigan are experiencing with water quality or lack their of would appreciate this.  If a company was successful after three attempts they went on to become a multi-million dollar sought after mogul.  If a company was unsuccessful due to leakage or blockage of water flow, then they most likely went out of business.  However, some unsuccessful company’s had ideas to merge to pool together budget and materials.

There were many purposes to this lesson.  The subcategories are:

  • Did the students work as a team?
  • Did everyone play a role?
  • Did their system work?

Students will self evaluate their experiences during this activity when we return.  Thank you to http://www.tryengineering.org for the lessons (some modifications were made).  Enjoy their creations.

CUB Irrigation
Irrigation 3
Irrigation 4
Irrigation 4

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Up-Com-ing-E-vents

November 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Nobody got that reference in the title?  Not many Art of Wrestling Podcast listeners I suppose.  (Please don’t sue for copyright/gimmick infringement Colt) Awkward silence.  Crickets.

 

Any-who, upcoming 4th grade events:

  • Miss Ann’s Thanksgiving Feast is 11/12.  Price of a meal is $5.00 per adult + drink or snack.
  • The Pine Knolls Shore Aquarium is visiting BSES on 11/24 from noon to 1:00.
  • Nutcracker Ballet on 12/02/15 will be held at West Carteret High School.  $3.00 per student, $5.00 per adult.  Money for students is due Friday, November 20th.  We will leave BSES at 8:15, and depart WCHS at 12:30.
  • PTO hosts Winter Wonderland 12/04/15 from 5-8 pm.
  • Field Trip to Tryon Palace is 12/18/15.  $7.00 per student, money is due 12/04/15.
  • Parents subscribe to the Art of Wrestling via soundcloud or iTunes or where ever you get your podcasts.

For Mr. V, I’m Mr. V.  Thankssssssssssssssssssss

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How Earth’s Surface Changes

October 28, 2015 at 4:46 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Below you will see our young scientists exploring the effects of weathering by break rock down into itty particles of dust.  We used sandpaper to represent sand along the beach or water smoothing out a stone in a creek.  We also created mini glaciers, watching how they change the surface of the land as it passed on through and then once more adding more friction to the surface.  The clumped sand you see left behind from our glaciers is called moraine, a fancy word for rock debris.  It a grain of sand were to be left all by its lonesome, then that is an erratic.  However most erratics look like this . . . 

The torn tin foil (our ground) is now carved into valleys and mountains.  Students finished by creating illustrations

 

The torn tin foil (our ground) is now carved into valleys and mountains.  Students finished by creating illustrations of the activity and labeling the parts mentioned above, as well as the terminus (the end of a glacier).  We’ll continue with how glaciers move tomorrow and hopefully get into some volcanic activity if we’re lucky.

 

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Coastal Federation

October 23, 2015 at 3:22 pm (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Kristen Daly is a marine biologist that works in the educational department from the Coastal Federation right down the block from BSES.  She visited our class today to stress the importance of how storm water run off causes erosion and carries fertilizers and pesticides, not to forget litter, into our water ways.  The students each had a chance to add some type of consequence from the human footprint.  If only you could have been a fly in the room listening to them discuss and tie in topics of deforestation, erosion, conserving resources, being environmentally aware.  At times I wonder if they are listening.  Today proved not only that they are, but they’re also taking steps necessary to make life changes.  Yeah we recycle, but they also compost snacks, pick litter up around campus on their own accord, and are now voicing their awareness via blogging (click here to check out their stuff).  It is impressive for one so young to take charge.  As Stan Lee would say, “true believer.”

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Dr. Vicky to the Rescue

October 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm (News, Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Dr. Vicky Thayer, marine biologist from CMAST, dropped in to give us a lesson on whale rescue.  The students partnered to brainstorm five items needed in order to save a whale tangled in fishing line.  After some time, the kids shared their thinking.  They came up with ideas such as medical tools and medicine to keep the whale calm.  Others thought a crane would be helpful to keep it above water.  Goggles were mentioned to keep the salt water that might be flying about out of their eyes, while also wearing a helmet in case the fluke (tail) came crashing down on them.  An elephant was brought up, the idea was to keep water sprayed onto the whale for comfort.  A knife or scissors would be needed to cut the line.

After the meeting of the minds, Dr. Vicky went into depth of how the course of action takes place.  But before doing so, she shared a large piece of baleen for the children to see and hold.  As you can see from the pictures, the baleen was taller than she was and to my surprise, quite hard.  I had always thought of it as more hair and soft tissue, but it felt more like thin bone or plastic (yes with hair attached).  Any-who, Dr. Vicky explained as she brought out her equipment that responders begin by tiring the whale out.  To slow the whale down they hook weight bobbers and a type of catch bag to pull water current.  They also insert a tracking device into the weight, because they are not guaranteed to keep up with the mighty beasts as they take off.  Once a whale slows down, the crew connect poles together.  Each pole is around one yard or so in length, and she had close to twenty one feet connected.  Then a retractable blade is attached to the end of the pole, which is meant to slide under the rope and flicks open when pulling back to cut the twine. Yes the have helmets and the cutting takes place at the back-side of the whale to keep out of the flukes wrath.

She mentioned that sometimes when an animal becomes free or has the sense of being freed, that is when responders are in danger.  The reason being the whale will take off before the job is completed, or once the line is cut, it could cause a tighter grip due to a leverage shift.  They whale could at any time dive straight down, taking the crew with them.  Man what an exciting job.  We ended the discussion with things we could do to help.  Of course, it all came back to picking up litter, as it tends to make it’s way to water.  Ever Google trash island?

I thought this would be beneficial since we’ve covered animals so indepth, as well as how humans leave their mark on Mother Earth.  More so, I wanted to expose them to not only a truly passionate and knowledgeable human being in Dr. Vicky, but also to a career path that is within their grasp right here in our community.  Whatever the cause, it was a big hit with the Little V’s.  Stay tuned for more to come.

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