The LADC-GEMM SeaGlide mini-underwater glider STEM activity has been a spring-board for 5 Newport OR high school students, into other ‘real-word’ opportunities.
Glider technology was their focus during a summer engineering internship at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. All five had participated in producing and instructing the SeaGlide Teacher’s Workshop, and all had identified areas for improvements. Their internship mandate was to update the SeaGlide manual and enhance SeaGlide’s operational functionality. Manual updates included clear, step-by-step instructions for building a SeaGlide model, illustrated with photographs. To expand SeaGlide’s abilities, temperature and depth sensors were added, and Arduino-based software routines developed that let SeaGlide automatically find neutral buoyancy.
Their improved SeaGlider was featured in a three-day Arduino workshop for K-12 teachers that was part of SuperQuest, a highly collaborative technology training series designed specifically for K-12 teachers by K-12 and Community College teachers, funded by the Oregon Department of Education and sponsored by the Computer Science Teachers Association of Oregon. SuperQuest aims to “empower educators with the skills and classroom tools to build hands-on technology learning directly into their classrooms and/or after-school activities.” For the workshop, the Newport High Schoolers introduced the Seaglide project and showed teachers how they could use Arduino to program the mini-underwater gliders to accomplish specific tasks and collect data. Their presentation peaked interest and sparked questions about future SeaGlide teacher’s workshops.
This October, the students will present their improved SeaGlide at the NW Marine Technology Summit. Organized by the Oregon Section of the Marine Technology Society (comprised of marine technology professionals from throughout the state), the summit aims to provide opportunities for businesses, researchers, and students to learn more about key blue sector interest areas, visit with local technological innovators, network with like-minded individuals, and be a part of solution-oriented dialogue about problems within the industry. Funds raised from the conference will go toward MTS Oregon’s outreach programs, including their college scholarship program.
The summer internship has also led to other transformational educational experiences for the NHS students, such as the opportunity to participate in a recent 3 day research cruise off the Oregon coast aboard the R/V Oceanus. Led by Oregon Sea Grant in partnership with the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, this cruise gave students the opportunity to work with marine researchers and utilize a variety of technology to collect data, test their own devices developed in conjunction with researchers, and discuss and investigate scientific methods. While at sea, participants produced blog posts, and engaged in post-cruise outreach activities including ship tours, an educator open house, and public presentations dockside in Portland, Oregon.
During this next year, Newport High students will continue to make improvements to SeaGlide and hope to conduct more teacher’s workshops.