2016 Summit Science and Education Fair

The Marine Science and Education Fair

Sponsored by NERACOOS

Science and Education Fair 2016

The Science and Education Fair was a new component to the 2016 Ocean Literacy Summit. It was designed to address feedback we received from educators who were hoping to leave with more hands-on ideas of how to teach ocean literacy and provide more interaction opportunity for scientists and educators. During the Science and Education Fair, participants demonstrated their educational approach, tool, or activity or share a poster to discuss their research. It turned out to be a dynamic part of the Summit which will inspired connection and collaboration between scientists and educators. Fair presenters included:

Weather, climate and ocean connections via plankton studies!
Wells NERR, Caryn Beiter
“Plankton is our planet’s most prolific life form, and the food it generates makes up the base layer of the global food chain. The variety of shapes among plankton species shames plants on land, showing more range in size than the difference between moss and redwood trees. There are more plankton cells in the sea than our current count of stars in the entire universe.” – Helen Thompson, Smithsonian.com. Warming sea surface temperatures in the GOM could produce increased precipitation which influences marine productivity – strength, timing and type of phytoplankton blooms and in turn productivity of every other trophic level. The consequences of warming sea surface temperatures in the GOM in 2012 and 2013 have already revealed themselves in a change in local fish and copepod populations, severely decreased puffin chick viability and low numbers of visiting right whales. This exhibit demonstrates activities to get students excited about and involved in the role these tiny giants play on our changing planet! Brief write-ups will be available for all activities.

Pressures facing New England cod fisheries
Robert Adams Middle School, Kathryn Buckley
This lesson introduces students to the pressures facing New England cod fisheries, including overfishing, population shifts due to climate change and economic realities. Students review NOAA cod population estimates for three different fishing scenarios, including no fishing, fishing at maximum sustainable yield and fishing at 75% maximum sustainable yield. They use this data to calculate revenue for each scenario and determine which option offers the greatest chance of rebuilding cod populations while maximizing favorable economic outcomes for the local fishing industry. Students review ecological estimation methods to assess validity of NOAA estimates and create sustainable fishing policy proposals.

Educator’s guide for a climate of change: The future of aquaculture
Island Institute, Rebecca Clark Uchenna
This curriculum is based off of the Island Institute Climate of Change Part IV* film and is designed to help middle and high school teachers bridge different ideas between the science and social aspects of aquaculture. Conference participants will be able to view the Climate of Change Part IV film to become familiar with the stories and science concepts highlighted throughout. The curriculum will be available for participants to read through and there will be hands-on activities from several of the lesson plans, including dulse and kelp taste-testing. The curriculum may be downloaded at: http://www.islandinstitute.org/resource/climate-change-part-iv-educators-guide. A Climate of Change: The Future of Aquaculture is a short documentary focused on the increasing interest in aquaculture along the coast of Maine as a complement to traditional lobstering, clamming and other types of fishing. More and more resource harvesters see farming shellfish and sea vegetables as a viable and sustainable way to continue working on the water. With Maine’s fisheries facing an uncertain future, marine-related economic diversification can help support Maine’s island and remote coastal communities.

GigaPan: Digital tool for place-based exploration, teaching, and learning
Northeastern University Marine Science Center, Emily Duwan, Carole McCauley, Val Perini
The purpose of our demonstration will be to introduce scientists and educators to an interesting digital tool for place-based exploration, teaching, and learning. A GigaPan is a 360-degree high resolution image that can serve as a “palette” that can be annotated with images, PDFs, URLs, and videos that are “pinned” anywhere on the image. The final product, a “virtual tour”, can be accessible by computer or smartphone. Current graduate work at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center is testing how student learning, engagement, and interest, and sense-of-place are enhanced through the use of this technology compared with that facilitated via traditional methods of teaching. We are also assessing the extent to which these student attributes are enhanced when students create their own virtual tour appended with the stories, photos, and data they collect during a field trip. We will be showcasing different virtual tours, as well as the hardware and software needed to create your own virtual tours.

What are the codfish doing in the Gulf of Maine?
Salem Sound Coastwatch (Emily Flaherty) and Harborlight Montessori (Victor Young)
How can you help support local research? Come see what schools are doing with ocean drifters, a low-tech solution to gathering data about ocean currents, and how you could bring them to your research as a scientist or to your classroom as an educator. This project and collaboration of Salem Sound Coastwatch and Harborlight Montesorri is a partnership with GOMI (Gulf of Maine Institute) and funded by NOAA B-WET. Collaborations and partnerships make for strong educational opportunities!

Salt marsh “living shoreline” restoration demonstration
Mass Audubon at Felix Neck, Josey Kirkland
Demonstration of a salt marsh ‘living shoreline’ restoration effort at a Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary on Martha’s Vineyard; an all-natural soft-solution approach to shoreline erosion control. The restoration project is on a coastal pond with tidal and coastal storm influence. Demonstration will be two-parts, a visual representation of shoreline erosion and a model of how the ‘living shoreline’ mitigates erosion and facilitates regrowth of the salt marsh.

WeatherBlur: Community-based citizen science
Maine Math and Science Alliance, Gary Lewis
WeatherBlur is a community-based non-hierarchal online citizen science platform that allows communities to develop their own research programs, called investigations, to help them solve a local problem that is related to weather and/or climate changing events. In WeatherBlur we are looking for investigations that can do a few things: Really help our community understand the environment (climate, biology, oceanography, ecology, geology etc) in which we live and help our community plan for changes- either short term dramatic events or long term changes.

Ocean tracks: Investigating marine migrations in a changing ocean
Souhegan High School and Education Development Center, Jullianne Mueller-Northcott
The availability of online scientific data sets opens up exciting new opportunities to raise students’ understanding of the worlds’ oceans and the potential impacts of climate change. Students’ work with these data also holds the promise of improving their skills in working with complex, authentic data sets – skills that are increasingly important in today’s data-rich world. The program Ocean Tracks aims to build a comprehensive, state-of-the-art educational tool that employs technology to reach broad student populations and help them develop this skill set. With the support of three National Science Foundation grants over the past 5 years, we’ve developed a web-based student interface to data on marine animal movements (Tagging of Pacific Predators), drifting buoy tracks (NOAA’s Global Drifter Program), Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and Chlorophyll (NASA), and human impacts (National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis). Students interact with these data using customized data analysis tools, multimedia supports, and course modules. In addition to helping students develop data analysis skills, the Ocean Tracks curriculum modules support the teaching of Ocean and Climate Literacy principles and the teaching of content, practices and cross-cutting concepts in the Next Generation Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Ocean hero: A strategic board game of ocean conservation
Antioch University, Katie Pelon
Our tabletop presentation introduces a new educational tool: explore the ocean’s depths, build thriving and resilient ecosystems, and discover new enthusiasm for the ocean environment — all while playing a board game at home with friends and family. “Ocean Hero” is a fast-paced, strategic game of ocean conservation in which players compete to establish the strongest ecosystems possible by linking living species into complex food webs, striving to protect them against randomly drawn threats such as increasing storm intensity, ocean acidification, and plastics pollution. The winner is the player with the most linked species conserved when all threats to their ecosystem have been withstood. “Ocean Hero” is intended to encourage a fun, social, free-choice learning experience in which players can uncover their innate connections to the ocean, strengthen their positive attitudes toward marine ecosystems, and come away with a renewed sense of wonder. Made specifically for teen and adult audiences, “Ocean Hero” aims to reach audiences whose learning may currently take place outside of traditional academic settings through a media that interests them, and which can be enjoyed by their favorite communities. By identifying the niche for adult learning through gaming, our game invites the creation of additional educational games that don’t feel like education. Imaginative, interactive media such as games can provide a new avenue for exploring environmental issues with adult audiences, facilitating understanding of and empathy for threatened ecosystems as a step toward inspiring positive change. As a precursor to an evaluative study of the game’s outcomes, this activity will encourage participants to play an introductory version of the game themselves as well as discuss its potential with the game’s designer.

Sensor technology demonstration
University of Maine, Darling Marine Center, Anneliese (Lili) Pugh
Sensor technology is an important tool for marine sciences. Students who are interested in a variety of marine science fields will need to be comfortable with this technology. This display will introduce you to creating circuits with Arduino microcontroller boards and simple sensors. Test out a thermometer and learn what is needed to build them. Resources for teachers will be available.

Online data literacy tool
University of Maine, Carla Scocchi
Translating data into useful ideas and communicating them involves a unique set of “literacy” skills that draw upon mathematics, visualization, science, language, reasoning, and storytelling. Learn about a free, online data literacy tool that can be used by your students to practice these skills. This presentation will feature an activity highlighting oceanographic buoy data collected in the Damariscotta River, an important habitat for the cultivation of oysters.

Coastal Studies for Girls
John Wensman
Coastal Studies for Girls is a science and leadership semester school for tenth grade girls. The school brings girls from around the country to the coast of Maine for the fall or spring semester of their sophomore year of high school. Students interact directly with scientists and guest lecturers as they pursue a rigorous marine science based curriculum. Demonstrations will include activities used during programs at Coastal Studies for Girls throughout the year.

Hands on activities for ocean acidification
Seacoast Science Center, Sarah Toupin
The Seacoast Science Center will have hands-on activities and teacher resources to educate students on ocean acidification. Videos, websites and activities will be on display to show what ocean acidification is and how it is affecting the Gulf of Maine. Come have fun and talk with our naturalists about what activities and resources you can use inside or outside the classroom.

Hands-on classroom activities for ocean acidification
MIT Sea Grant Program, Juliet Simpson, Carolina Bastidas
Hands-on classroom activities demonstrating the chemical and biological processes affected by ocean acidification.

Determining flood vulnerability due to coastal storms in Maine
Ransom Consulting, Inc., Leila Pike
Ransom has a small coastal modeling team who has been working on determining flood vulnerability due to coastal storms for several locations throughout Maine.  Recently, for a vulnerability project for Islesboro, Maine, we have incorporated storms generated and used for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study (NACCS) in a detailed and localized ADvanced CIRCulation (ADCIRC) model to help the island determine its flood vulnerability at two critical locations and help plan for adaptation measures in the future. We are determining flood risk from storm surge, wave action, and sea level rise.  For sea level rise, we are using a probabilistic distribution as opposed to sea level rise scenarios so that the uncertainty is built into the results.  ADCIRC modeling has the potential to be used for a wide range of water level predictions and help communities plan for climate adaptation.

Learning with Limulus – A model for teaching marine education
Dave Grant, Shark Research Institute
Horseshoe crabs are the most intensely studied, and arguably the most interesting marine invertebrate. They have been used historically as animal feed and fertilizer; and more recently for eel and conch bait and especially for biomedical applications and research. The dependence of local marine life on their eggs for food is being reviewed but is thought to be significant. Their range is centered in New Jersey and Delaware, and their commercial exploitation is highest here. Although the impacts of their utilization by humans are most obvious locally (over-harvesting, habitat loss); they are a major food source for globe-trotting shorebirds – some of which are thought to be threatened by the reduction of crab populations. Involving students in the study and protection of horseshoe crabs provides students with a gateway into science, involvement in local issues, and insight into global issues.