Science in the Middle

doing 6th grade science – outside the box!

Oceanographers’ Live Broadcast Inspires 6th Grade

on August 25, 2014

Social media has become such a fantastic place for teacher professional learning and connecting with colleagues and collaborators.  This is how I became aware of the JOIDES Resolution – following a thread involving ocean research, one of my favorite topics brought me a great opportunity for my students. JOIDES Resolution Expedition 352 is an ocean drilling research ship “in search of Earth’s secrets.” A forum to request a live broadcast to schools was on their home page, so a couple of months ago, I submitted a request for my class.  I was thrilled to hear back from Education Officer Beth Christiansen that she would do a live broadcast with Kittredge!  After all, we study oceanography and geology, as well as geologic time so the connections are right in line with my Georgia science standards.  The students watched an intro video for homework and came up with some questions they’d ask the scientists on board given the chance.  Meanwhile, with tricky hardware and district filters in place, we had to figure out how to make the two way zoom.us broadcast work…. and teamwork with our media specialist and principal made it happen!

Students listen to a Japanese scientist aboard the JOIDES Resolution describe her work during the live broadcast.

On Thursday morning, we had the broadcast all set up and two classes filed in.  Atlanta, GA 8:00 a.m. talking with scientists in a 9 p.m. time zone where it was almost tomorrow – near the Philippines and the Marianas Trench.They were attentive and eager to ask their questions, Beth was right on the level of the sixth graders and first gave them all the science, and followed that with an intriguing tour on board the ship!  We recorded the session to show the following classes so all students could enjoy the broadcast and learn more about exploring our oceans.

Thursday night’s HW was to tell a bit about what they learned from the folks on board Expedition 352. They blogged on Edmodo and really blew me away with their engagement – even the students who saw the recorded version.

Here are some excerpts from their entries:

I loved Skyping with a teacher aboard the 70 ft wide JOIDES Resolution sailing in the Philippines. It was really neat getting to learn about the drill and how it grinds through rock and sediment and brings up 9 1/2 meter long cores. Another thing I liked about the Skype interview is getting to meet all the scientists on the ship and how it was evening there and early morning here. Everything on the boat is used to contribute to science and discover more about how the Earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago. (Brady)

What I learned from the JOIDES oceanography broadcast is that its very difficult to bring an ocean rock to the surface. Usually you don’t find ocean rocks that easily when you search for them, and when you do find it, there is only so much you can get to the surface. On top of that, many things can go wrong while drilling for (or bringing up) ocean rocks. These points show that there are many setbacks while bringing up ocean rocks, and that it takes highly trained scientists to get the job done safely.(Yordi)

Today in class we Skyped with a scientist from in the middle of the Ring of Fire. I thought it was amazing that we actually got to Skype with Beth (the scientist) live. I learned a tremendous amount of things. We learned about the moon pool, and that they drilled a hole through the ship to make it. I learned all about how they study the samples of sediment and keep it organized. I didn’t really think the sediment would look the way it did though. They were sectioned into pieces, whereas I had seen them in long, soft pieces of sediment. (Sammy)

Something I learned from the JOIDES oceanography broadcast is that there are different kind of drills to drill different depths and substances. They use a bigger drill to get through solid rock and a smaller drill to get through sediment. Also with the harder substances it takes a longer time to drill the rock compared to the sediment. (Walker)

I enjoyed skypeing with the oceanographer/teacher. It felt beyond cool to be the first people to learn about what was happening on the ship. No one has seen or heard about what was going on on the boat, and we were this first kids. This was the first time this has ever happened in Kittredge History, and it was so amazing to be the first class that got to do it, especially since we got to chat with her live and in person. I learned so much about the ship that I couldn’t have found out anywhere else. Like the different types of bits they use to drill different types of sediment and rocks, or how long it takes to do so. It was also very exciting to see how they lived on the ship, and to meet some of the people that worked there. Overall, this was one super-cool experience that I don’t think I’ll be forgetting anytime soon! (Abby)

During the Skype call I learned that when they got pieces of the core they would separate them into two groups, ‘archives’ and the ones they would examine then. The archives are packaged and saved for other scientist to research on later. She talked to us about sometimes they have to blow up the bottom of the pipe because it can get stuck. It was very exciting having this experience and I will never forget it. (Lili)

The skype session was very intriguing. It was interesting to learn about the process of drilling cores, what you can learn about the cores themselves, and what the ship is like. Drilling cores can take from 30 minutes to an hour or more. Once the core is on the ship, the core is split in half and analyzed. You can find the core’s radiation level, how old the rocks are, what animals were living in the ocean at the time, and what the earth looked like millions of years ago. Aboard the ship, spaces are tight, but fit the scientist’s needs. There are bedroom quarters, a cafeteria, and a complete core lab with high-tech equipment. In conclusion, I loved the skype session and it was exciting to learn about drilling cores. (Megan)

I thought that it was cool that they were floating around in the middle of the ocean, and that they were collecting samples that are 50 million years old. I liked how they work in 12 hour shifts so one person worked in the day, and one person worked at night. Also, I never knew that they had decent meals on a ship, in the middle of nowhere. I also thought that putting foam parts in place for rocks when people were examining them closely was a good idea. Overall, I thought the scientists and crew came up with a bunch of good ideas. (Gavin)

What I learned from the Skype was that Basalt is made from lava. Also the boat is like a hotel for rich people. Something else I learned was they have a natural radiation tester that has 5 tons of lead surrounding it. (Jacob)

Being a oceanographer who drills into the ocean must be so cool! From watching the Skype video I learned a lot. When the scientists are drilling there is a lot of noise and the drill can go down to 4800 meters below the top of the ocean. Thrusters are special machines on the boat that help the boat and drill stay straight. The sediment that is drilled is normally very heavy and can be up to nine meters long! After they cut the sediment into smaller pieces they cut dawn the middle with a thin line. One half is used to sample from. The other half is the half that is kept and stored, its called the archive half. When scientists want to take a piece of rock from the sample half to study it more closely, they put a piece of Styrofoam in with their name on it so the other scientists can keep track of who has it. One of the oldest rock they have found was only 50 million years old, because the Earth is billions of years old. I think oceanography is amazing and I want to go on a ride on a boat like that someday! (Kelly)

I learned that the ship is more vulnerable then I thought it was.Also that there people from all around the world U.K.,China,Japan,Canada. I wanted to ask if they have ever found fossils from the dinosaur age. (Adnan)

I thought the expedition was really cool and exiting to watch. It is also cool how old the rocks were. When magma from the mantle cools, it turns into solid rock. But after a while the rock gets replaced and starts moving lower into the crust. Then the researchers take the huge drill and dig it out. They cut it and then split it in half again. They take one half and store it for later and with the other half they test a lot of things that they need to know. The oldest rock they have found was 50 million years old! (Lincoln)

When we watched the recording of the scientist on the research ship, I really learned a lot! It didn’t even occur to me that they used different drills according to what type of material they are drilling up. Another thing that I found really informational was when she showed us that picture of a bedroom, I think it’s neat how they coordinate the sleeping schedules with their roommates. In conclusion, I thought that the interview with the scientist was really cool, and I hope that we can do something like that again. (Ellie)

I learned from the JOIDES Skype interview how important of a job it is to work in that field. I loved how so many different people worked on that ship. What really amazed me was the “Moon Hole”. I was really interested in that because of how bizarre it is to have a hole at the bottom of the ship. I learned that it is where they release the cores to get the sediment so they can study it. I hope that later on we can do another interview with a scientist because I get a very full understanding of real life science. (Sara)

I learned about how they drill many, many meters down for scientific investigation. Once they take the core on deck, they cut it into about one meter pieces and then halve it. One half is an archive half, which they package up and store. The other half is the working half, which they work and experiment on. As they said, the sediment has not been exposed in millions of years, and they are the first ones to see it, which is very cool! (Benjamin)

In the broadcast I learned that the place where they put the drill is called a moon pool. Before I was told about the moon pool I just thought they put the drill next to the railing and then sent it down into the ocean. The thing that is weird about it is that there is a hole in the boat and the waves could splash up through it. When I think about a hole in the boat I think it is going to sink but it does not because the hole is so deep. (Aiden)

In this video I learned about what basalt is and what is inside basalt. One of the things I did not know is to be a scientist you have to be good at math because you will make charts about percents, decimals, and fractions. I did not know that there would be twelve hour shifts for scientists working on a boat. I did not know that you could find a rock that was up to fifty million years old. I also did not know that that the drill for digging could be so big and also could be super loud. I also did not know that the drill went as low as two thousand feet. One of the most Interesting thing I learned was that not all the scientist were from the same place they were all from different places. I learned that you can dig down to as deep as two thousand feet and only get one hundred feet of sediment. (Daniel)

Today we watched a recorded Skype video with an ocean scientist talking with one of Mrs.Oltman”s classes. In the video we learnt that the scientist does research in the ocean.She had also told us about her job and had shown us around the ship.
She had shown us around the ship, for example, the rooms, mess hall, the core lab and more! The class asked some questions and she answered with some interesting answers. When she showed the core deck she had to wear a helmet and goggles for safety. The drilling sound of the cores from the ocean is very loud. The pipe they drill into the ocean is 9.5 meters long. In the core lab, she showed us a machine that uses Gamma Rays to see what radiations are in the cores. She showed another machine called a cryogenic magnotoner. It is used to see what magnetic fields are in the cores. We got to meet some scientists that come from various places in the world. One scientist had said that one of the oldest pieces of core on the ship is around 50 million years old. She showed us a part in the ship where they have a moon pool.That is where they can drill the pipe into. The drill goes down about 48 hundred meters down.
It was really exciting to see all the “behind the scenes stuff, for example all the cool machinery. It was really cool to see what all the scientists see and do. (Ayushi)

 One girl was so intrigued she said she wants to be a sedimentologist!
This will be the first of many live broadcast or Skype sessions I hope to line up with scientists and those who work in industries related to our topics of study. I’m open to suggestions!  I appreciate the time of the Education Officers and Scientists aboard the JOIDES Resolution and wish them much success in their research and voyage!
To follow the JOIDES on Twitter @TheJR #EXP352   or you can like them on Facebook.
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