I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

September 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )


A bit behind with updates in the lab.  The pvc pipe will hold plastic bags which will be used for campus clean ups.  We’ll separate the litter, then tally what we’ve found using CMAST’s beach sweep data sheets.  From there the information the kids collect will be sent to our friends at CMAST for them to add to their study on marine debris.  Our school will be a data point for the debris collection as well as upcoming weather tracking.  That lovely pesticide cabinet is our storage unit for chemicals, which at the elementary level consist of materials such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, veggie oil, salt, etc.  My good friend and proprietor of ENC Creations made some support cleats for the cabinet to rest upon and secure from above with lag bolts.  The back of the cabinet was then secured to the wall with ten masonry screws.  AND . . .  finally those beautiful cabinets came in.  Look at all of that storage.  Teacher’s dream.  A purchase order is in the works to purchase the wall mounted projector.  This will project onto our dry erase board and has touchscreen capabilities without the screen.  The next project is to add more storage rails under the cabinets, and install a few more pieces of pegboard.  Once that is complete, it will be time to build the L-bench and order materials for the recording studio.

Someone call the A-Team.


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Coastal Connections: Science in the Field to the Classroom

June 4, 2016 at 9:00 am (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Below is a thinglink I have concocted to sum up the outreach events and partnering of local organizations relating to the field of science in which the students from the tail end of last year to the current roster have been a part of.  The roster of students of 2015-2016 have had been exposed to so many incredible resources that make our community.  It is uncommon for such a small place to have the vast amount of people working in related fields of environmental, biological, and physical sciences as it does.  These children have had more interaction with scientists throughout the school year than the peers from any region, making them stewards for our community and hopefully sparking a curiosity to pursue a career in a related science field.  In this case, it is good to be spoiled.

None of this could have been possible if it were not for a.) my colleague Lauren Daniel whispering in my ear to join her in this quest with the COHORT and b.) also the Center for Marine Science and Technology (CMAST) to put me in contact with groups such as the Coastal Reserve, Coastal Federation, NOAA, and Duke Lab (to name a few).  This thinglink will serve as my introduction to the National Marine Educators Association in Orlando, FL this summer.  I think the viewers will be impressed with what these young minds have experienced and created because of those experiences.  Please leave comments below if you feel the thinglink lacks explanation.  Just keep in mind these are only captions and I’ll be explaining the activities in depth.  I can always do the same in the comment section.  Thank you and enjoy.



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Echolocation & Interpreting Data

January 9, 2016 at 2:06 pm (Science) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Thanks to the good folks at the Center for Marine Sciences & Technology (@CMAST) and The Science House (@THS_CMAST) for loaning their Vernier technology, allowing our young minds to  . . . a.) explore how bats and dolphins use echolocation, detecting distances of objects based on reflecting sound.  & b.) interpreting data waves results.


The Go!Motion devices were very simple to use, just a USB plugin into the back of the chromebook, and operated smoothly by downloading a free app known as Logger Lite.  Our first day we became familiar with operation of Go!Motion by placing a book or hand in front of the screen and then raising it away and/or towards quickly and/or slowly, the data is tracked as the motions are made.  The device serves as a bat while the object moving is the insect.  They were able to distinguish when a bat would determine if another object were near or far away by the rise or decline in the graph.

For the next act students took turns operating and standing in place to find the distances (marking points) of half a meter and 2 meters in which the kids had to interpret where they were standing and adjust position to the correct measurement.  These marking points served for the experiments of walking away from and toward Go!Motion.  A neat-o feature is the zoom in on the graph, allowing the kids to see if they ruffled their pant leg or twitched a finger while standing still.  It was a real eye opener to see the bounces in the waves according to the slightest movements.  The jumping up and down activity was a hit.  According to the wave data we might have some high fliers by the time they are in their teens.  Just throwing that out their for any college basketball or high jump recruiters that stumbled upon our blog. Cough, hint coach Painter #boilermakers.

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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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