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WHSTEP Science and Math Safari Explores the Use of Sound in Ocean Research

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Science teachers and scientists in the USGS Warehouse.
Above: Science teachers receive guidance from USGS, scientists (left to right) Dann Blackwood, Brian Buczkowski, and Nancy Soderberg on how to navigate the USGS, warehouse! Photograph by Chris Polloni. [larger version]

The Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership (WHSTEP) is a partnership of schools, scientific institutions, businesses, and community resources on upper Cape Cod whose mission is to promote and expand science and technology education and scientific literacy among the participating groups and communities. Science and Math Safaris are one of the programs organized by the WHSTEP for science teachers in Bourne, Mashpee, and Falmouth, Mass.

On March 30, a Science and Math Safari was held at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)'s Woods Hole Science Center. The aim of this Safari was to bring local teachers to the USGS, teach them about oceanographic techniques, and help them take what they learn back into their classrooms by giving them lesson plans and teaching resources.

The theme of this year's Science and Math Safari was "Bouncing Sound and Mapping with Math in the Oceans." The Safari began at the USGS Geowall display, a tool for three-dimensional visualization, which was used by Chris Polloni to guide participating teachers in a virtual fly-through tour of the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest trench in the Atlantic Ocean. The fly-through brought to life the bathymetry and sidescan-sonar data collected by using the sound and reflection methods that were the focus of the 2006 Safari. Participants got a brief tour of selected USGS research facilities and an overview of the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program by Nancy Soderberg, Dann Blackwood, and Brian Buczkowski.

The Safari then moved to the USGS Marine Operations Facility (MOF) for an introduction to instruments that use sonar to explore the depths of marine realms. This Safari had been designed with a focus on math problems for grades 4 through 6, but the group included many junior-high- and high-school teachers who were curious about how sound is used to explore the ocean. The exhibits at MOF covered most of the equipment used to map the sea floor and to collect samples and imagery for ground-truthing the soundings. The exhibits were organized in numerical order, and it was up to the teachers to match each numbered instrument to a description printed on the Safari guide. Most of the teachers had never seen these types of instrument, even though many are manufactured in the Falmouth area. A lot of coaching went on as the teachers worked through the exhibit, and all ended up with perfect scores, smiles, and new insights into how sound is used in ocean exploration.

The USGS team thanks our WHSTEP partners, especially Donald Estes for initiating this event, Pat Harcourt and Liese Siemann for coordinating the subject material, and the participating teachers for their enthusiasm.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Science Mentoring
March 2003
Science Mentoring
February 2002
Teachers Learn About Rocks
November 2000
Tenth Anniversary of the Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership
March 2000

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Field Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Woods Hole Science and Technology Education Partnership
partnership of schools, scientific institutions, businesses, and community resources

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cover story:
Limited Reproductive Success for Endangered California Clapper Rail

USGS Studies Aid Puget Sound Recovery

Outreach USGS Scientist Interviewed About Threats to Coral Reefs

USGS FISC Participates in 2006 Marine Quest

Geography Team Visits USGS Woods Hole Science Center

USGS Participates in Career Fairs at MIT

USGS Scientist Attends Annual Field Trip for 20th Year

National Ocean Sciences Bowl Competitors Tour Laboratories in Woods Hole

WHSTEP Science and Math Safari Explores Use of Sound in Ocean Research

Meetings First International Symposium on Mangroves as Fish Habitat

USGS GIS 2006 Workshop

USGS Biologist Contributes Technical Expertise to Dive-Rescue Class

Awards USGS Biologist Honored by Fish and Wildlife Service

Staff New Oceanographic Data System Manager in Woods Hole

Publications June 2006 Publications List

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Updated December 02, 2016 @ 12:09 PM (JSS)