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April 22, 2015
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Jim Manning explains surface drifter to students
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NEFSC staff visited the Truro Central School April 7 for hands-on activities and lessons about the ocean in their backyard. Photo Credit: Stacey Klimkosky, Truro Central School

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Taking Science Into the Classroom

NOAA Ocean Day at Truro Central School – 2015

NEFSC researchers and staff visited Truro Central School (TCS) in Truro, Mass., April 7 for the second NOAA Ocean Day. Stacey Klimkosky, the school’s library and media skills specialist, organized the event to bring scientists into the classroom to teach students about the ocean and marine mammals in nearby ocean waters and encourage students to practice ocean stewardship.

Grades 5 and 6 worked with oceanographer Jim Manning and two graduate students from China, Zhaobin Dong and Bingwei Ling, who held a hands-on workshop highlighting ocean surface currents and how drifters are used to collect data about them.  Students helped construct and assemble a surface drifter, and decorated the underwater “sails” with colorful artwork. The satellite-tracked drifter will be deployed off the coast of Race Point in Provincetown in the coming weeks and is the third that TCS has deployed with Manning’s help. The most recent drifter was deployed in October 2014 and transmitted for nearly five months; it stayed in the Great South Channel for weeks, eventually moving into the Gulf Stream before it failed beyond the New England Seamounts.

“We can hope that some of these 5th and 6th graders were interested in what we presented,” Manning said of the experience. “If at least one of them thinks about being a physical oceanographer some day, we have done our job.”

Other grades worked with Grace Simpkins from the Center’s NOAA Outreach and Education on Protected Species (NOEPS) program. Kindergarten students learned about marine mammals living in the ocean off their coast, first graders explored bioacoustics, and third graders studied ocean food webs. Fourth grade students worked with Simpkins on marine mammal adaptations and climate change. 

“It was great to see so many kids excited about the ocean,” Simpkins said. “It's fun to see them engaging in relevant, hands-on science that they can share with their families about the amazing animals that live in the wonderful resource on their doorstep. These are our future scientists starting out!”

More than 100 students in grades K-6 participated in the activities.

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