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Students Demonstrate Power

Posted by: | October 18, 2018 | No Comment |

By Tracy Crews

Student tests solar boat at 2018 Oregon Coast Renewable Energy ChallengeHow can wind, waves, and sunlight provide coastal communities with electricity? To demonstrate the answer, Oregon coast students are invited to design models of wind, wave, and solar energy devices and bring them to the 6th annual Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge in March.

Oregon Sea Grant hosts the annual Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, and this year’s competition will be held on March 5, 2019. The event provides students in grades 3-12 opportunities to learn about renewable energy options that are currently being investigated along the Oregon Coast, and provides support and context for teachers seeking to integrate real-world science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in their classrooms.

Student designed solar energy deviceAt last year’s Challenge sponsored by the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, more than 170 students brought their renewable energy devices to the HMSC Visitor Center to test in wave tanks, a wind tunnel, or under high-powered lights to see which designs produced the greatest amount of energy. In addition, 25 volunteer judges from research and industry were on site to interact with students, assess student designs, and provide feedback.

In preparation for the Challenge, students researched renewable energy, practiced the engineering design process as they developed, built and tested their prototypes, and created a marketing poster detailing the strengths and benefits of their design. At the event, students further communicated their learning by interacting with other students and adults at the competition, as well as providing an engineering presentation to a panel of volunteer judges.

Students tell judges about their designs at the 2018 Oregon Coast Renewable Energy ChallengeAccording to an engineering judge who volunteered at the 2018 competition, “One strength of the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge is students’ involvement with the scientific, problem solving, and engineering design processes. And, seeing the enthusiasm and pride the students had in their work was fun!”

One teacher who brought students to last year’s competition reflected, “I appreciated the high interest and developing curiosity that purposely connects to this challenge. It touched my heart to hear youngsters using scientific vocabulary and investigations in their explanations about their engineer designs.

Student tests solar boat at 2018 Oregon Coast Renewable Energy ChallengeUpper grade level student teams that win at the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge are invited to participate in the KidWind National Challenge, providing them the opportunity to face top wind and solar energy teams from across the US.

The Oregon Coast STEM Hub will be scheduling educator workshops for teachers and mentors along the Oregon Coast who are interested in bringing students to this year’s competition. Keep an eye on the Professional Development page of the Oregon Coast STEM Hub website for announcements of these opportunities. For more information, contact tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu.

 

 

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Tracy Crews is the Marine Education Program Manager for Oregon Sea Grant, the Student STEM Experiences Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, and the coordinator for the Oregon Coast Renewable Energy Challenge.

 

under: competition, Student Experiences
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Mission Earth! Summer Camp

Posted by: | October 4, 2018 | 1 Comment |

By Kama Almasi and Kara Allan

What activities make middle school students excited about learning? What topics will engage their attention? What kinds of tasks will be appreciated as both fun and meaningful? For one week last summer, we were challenged to tackle these very questions for 25 middle school students from Lincoln County School District and beyond. Our answers included: A mystery involving death and our local area, lots of hands-on activities, a couple of field trips, and a few silly games thrown in. We named our camp: Mission Earth!

Mission Earth! Campers

Our Program

Mission Earth! campersWe began camp with a fictional situation in which scientists discovered a massive die-off of juvenile salmon along the Yaquina River. Oh NO! The kids brainstormed possible causes and designed tests. Their hypotheses included death from warm water temperature, disease, parasites, pollution, and much more. We then embarked on a journey of investigation and exploration with the kids. They spent the week:

  • Learning techniques of sampling
    • biosphere (living organisms)
    • atmosphere
    • pedosphere (soils)
    • hydrosphere (water)
  • Using analog and digital tools
  • Dissecting salmonids
  • Collecting data from Brian Booth State Park, two sites in Toledo, and Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • Learning to use a GPS (geographic positioning system)
  • Geocaching
  • Listening to a guest speaker talk about parasites and invasive species
  • Creating art/science journals, and made
  • Making fish prints
  • Creating barometers
  • Conducting experiments on pH and ocean acidification

Mission Earth! campersOur goals were that students would engage in science in a fun way and experience deepened learning by making local connections with the content that were relevant to their everyday experiences. With the help of our four high school/college counselors, students were able to work in small groups throughout the week allowing for lots of active learning and close interactions with instructors and peers.

In the end, students determined that both the Yaquina River and Beaver Creek are clean, but conditions during the fictional die-off were unusually warm. The students concluded that, likely due to climate change, the water became very warm too early in the season for juvenile salmon. This either would have caused their deaths outright, or weakened them and made them susceptible to disease or parasites.

The Takeaway

Mission Earth! campersThere’s nothing more satisfying to a teacher than seeing her students excited and engaged in learning. Thanks to support from our sponsors, we were able to do just that for our campers. We received very positive feedback from students and parents alike, and were extremely gratified to see our kids excited about working in their local environments. They had fun and learned valuable skills that will someday allow them to contribute to their communities.

 

Our Partners

Mission Earth! Camp was made possible through outreach, training, and supplies from Northwest Earth and Space Sciences Pipeline (NESSP) and considerable logistical aid from the Oregon Coast STEM Hub. In addition, we received generous donations from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund and Thermo Fisher Scientific. NESSP is an offshoot of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that serves communities in the Pacific Northwest. In particular, they aim to strengthen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and interest in careers by giving educators and students access to innovative materials that will excite and engage student interest in STEM. The Confederated Tribes of Siletz created a charitable fund in 1999, and since then, has donated millions of dollars to charitable funds for education, natural resources, and much more. Thermo Fisher Scientific Corporation also has a philanthropic fund through which they help to strengthen STEM education with the goal of increasing the STEM workforce in the United States. All of this generous support enabled us to offer a free environmental camp to improve equity and access for local students and parents.

 

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Kama Almasi and Kara Allan are Community Curriculum Resource Liaisons (CCRLs) for Lincoln County School District, and they are also the Central Coast Coordinators for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.

 

under: Student Experiences
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By Tracy Crews

On the OceanusThe R/V Oceanus is a 177-foot research vessel owned by the National Science Foundation and run by Oregon State University. She can carry a crew of 24 which consists of 11 crew members of the ship and 13 members of the science party. The science party on the recent STEM research cruise was composed of two high school students, three high school teachers, two community college students, two graduate students, and four OSU researchers. Most of these cruise participants were complete strangers to one another prior to boarding the ship.

What is it like to be part of a science party at sea?

Analyzing samplesAlthough we are at sea to conduct marine science, each cruise is a social science experiment in and of itself. When a group of individuals with diverse backgrounds are living and working together in a confined space, they quickly learn how to get along and what skill sets each bring to the table. During this cruise, it was amazing to see how quickly friendships formed, how everyone encouraged and supported one another, and how the team functioned like a well-oiled machine to deploy and retrieve equipment, collect data, and troubleshoot problems.

preparing the droneBelow are a few thoughts about the relationships formed on this cruise. It was written by Oregon Coast Community College student Jason Miranda, a recent graduate of the Drone Academy at Career Tech High School in Lincoln City, and the official drone operator for this cruise.

Aboard the Oceanus is one trip I will never forget. The memories started when I first boarded the ship and met the people I would spend the next six days with. It was an awkward experience, meeting new people, but as time passed these people became close friends. We all worked, ate, and relaxed as a team.

 

It was an amazing experience to see all the sights I saw, like a pod of dolphins, two killer whales, countless humpbacks, and the beautiful views of downtown Portland. It would not have been the same without any of them aboard this ship. As we all started to leave I felt sad because I knew I would not be able to see many of them ever again, but I guess that’s what makes our memories together so special.

working on deckThe R/V Oceanus is back in Newport, and the teachers and students who participated in the cruise are back to their normal lives on land (although at least one participant reports that it feels like the floor is still rocking). Many thanks to all who participated and to to those who made this STEM experience possible!

 

 

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Tracy Crews is the Marine Education Program Manager for Oregon Sea Grant, the Student STEM Experiences Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, and the Principal Investigator for the STEM research cruise which took place last week on the R/V Oceanus.

This cruise was funded by Oregon Legislative funds with additional support from Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University.

 

under: R/V Oceanus, Student Experiences
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By Sara Pursel
Science Teacher at Taft High School in Lincoln City, OR

This post is part of a series about the 2018 STEM research cruise taking place this week on board the R/V Oceanus. Other posts in this series include a report from PI Tracy Crews on Day One and Day Three, and a post from high school student Alishia Keller from Day Two.

Drone footage captures data about whales

Wednesday was our fourth and final day conducting the research portion of the Oceanus STEM cruise. We began in the morning off the coast of Washington, surveying for marine mammals as both the wind and weather were cooperating for visibility. The goal of the day was to get additional drone footage of the Humpback whales as they surfaced. Fairly early in the day we encountered a group of at least five individual whales and were able to successfully complete two drone flights to obtain footage of the animals. Our drone operator recently graduated from the Drone Academy at Career Tech High School with his pilot’s license and has been collaborating with the chief scientist onboard, Dr. Leigh Torres, to capture overflight video of whale for photogrammetry analysis, which helps assess body condition or overall health.

During one early whale sighting, we also had a solitary sea lion and a sea turtle right in front of the bow of the ship. The sea bird activity picked up as well, demonstrating how cold Pacific Northwest waters provide a favorable habitat for many types of marine animals.

Before lunch we conducted another plankton tow in order to obtain some samples to help with the education outreach effort that will be happening once we dock in Portland. While we didn’t catch as much in volume compared with the night tows, one of the students on board did attach a camera to view the organisms entering the tow net. The tow brought up a jelly with a bell size of approximately 18 cm (7 inches) in diameter as well as more krill, copepods (tiny crustaceans), a ctenophore (comb jelly), amphipods (more tiny crustaceans), a siphonophore (also related to jellies), and several other species. The video footage of the tow captured the jelly, ctenophore, and many other interesting images, including the flow meter stopping and starting as the ship moved over the ocean swells.

Sampling planktonAs we made our way south towards Oregon waters, three Orcas (killer whales) crossed our path and we diverted our trip to observe the animals for a while. I was working on this blog post when the boat stopped suddenly and several of us raced outside after putting on our PFDs (personal flotation devices – safety first) to get a glimpse of the animals. The head marine mammal researcher identified one adult male and hypothesized the other two were possibly juvenile males given their size. Most of the rest of the day was spent cleaning up, sharing files of data, pictures, and videos, and preparing for the next two days in Portland.

Marine education has been a passion of mine since I was a kid, and this experience has given me a new perspective and appreciation of what researchers do to gather data. While on the ship I have been sharing brief stories and a few pictures and videos with my students back home and have had a chance to answer some of their questions regarding equipment and marine life. I’ve learned so much on this research cruise that I can share with my students for years to come, and I will be able to connect them with researchers and opportunities in the future thanks to my time here.

Orcas

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Sara Pursel teaches science at Lincoln County School District’s Taft High School in Lincoln City, Oregon. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology with Chemistry minor, and a Masters of Education degree. In addition to joining this STEM research cruise, Sara has participated Oregon Coast STEM Hub professional development trainings and has checked out materials from the STEM Hub resource trailer.

under: Professional Development, R/V Oceanus
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By Tracy Crews

This post is part of a series about the 2018 STEM research cruise taking place this week on board the R/V Oceanus. Other posts in this series include Tracy’s report from Day One, and a post from high school student Alishia Keller from Day Two.

Pacific white-sided dolphins

Pacific white-sided dolphins

We started out our research cruise off the Oregon Coast, but as the wind increased down south impacting visibility, we tried our best to outrun it by heading north, into the waters off of Washington. We started out the day over Gray’s Canyon, surrounded by thick fog, wondering if we had traded one weather problem for another. But as the sun rose higher in the sky it burned off the fog and we were able to resume our survey tracks, zig-zagging back and forth from the shallower edge of the canyon, through the deeper water, then back to the other side again. Our quest today was to find those large, elusive whales known to prefer deep water, like sperm whales, beaked whales, and blues.

It wasn’t long before we saw a large pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins, estimated to be 230 in number by our two marine mammal researchers. Soon the dolphins surrounded the boat, darting out of wave crests, performing acrobatics and dancing in the wake of the vessel. The speed and agility they displayed was truly astounding. But as much as we enjoyed their antics, it was time to resume our search for their larger relatives.

Sperm whale fluke

Soon thereafter, as we made our way into deeper water, a solitary sperm whale was spotted. Everyone was excited to see such a rare sight but it wouldn’t last for long. Immortalized in books like Moby Dick, these large, toothed whales are impressive divers and once submerged can stay down for 45 minutes or more. Unsure when or where it would resurface, we continued along our survey transect.

As we moved back into shallower waters, we began to see more of the humpback whales that we have become so familiar with over the last few days. Most were traveling in small, close-knit groups, synchronized as they moved through the water. Others could be seen diving together then “logging” at the surface, floating to conserve energy and recover before diving once again.

deploying CTD

More oceanographic surveying

As the day wound down and wind picked up, we shifted gears to conduct some more CTDs (oceanographic surveys) and decided to conduct another nighttime plankton tow to compare to what was caught the previous night in the Astoria Canyon, off the Columbia River. As we gathered outside on the back deck to watch the sun sink below the horizon, one of the teachers pulled out his guitar and harmonica and we were presented with one last amazing gift, something mariners often wait a lifetime to see- a green flash.

Sunset Day Three

Waiting for the green flash

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Tracy Crews is the Marine Education Program Manager for Oregon Sea Grant, the Student STEM Experiences Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, and the Principal Investigator for the STEM research cruise taking place this week on the R/V Oceanus.

This cruise is funded by Oregon Legislative funds with additional support from Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University. Track the R/V Oceanus at marinetraffic.com, and see more photos of this expedition on the Oregon Coast STEM Hub Facebook page.

 

 

under: Careers, R/V Oceanus, Student Experiences
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By Alishia Keller
Bandon High School ’19

This post is part of a series about the 2018 STEM research cruise taking place this week on board the R/V Oceanus. For an introduction to the cruise, read yesterday’s post by the cruise’s Principal Investigator Tracy Crews. Today’s post is from a student’s perspective:

humpback whale flukeToday was the first full day at sea. Though much of the group spent yesterday in their bunks with seasickness, they all were present for today’s activities.

We woke and gathered in the dining area for breakfast before heading up to the flying bridge to observe marine mammals. There were patches of bait balls (groups of small fish) followed by flocks of gulls. Though we saw a few individual humpback whales, they were typically seen in pods of three or four.

making marine mammal observations from the ship's deckDuring our whale observations, we witnessed a whale lunge feeding. This is when a whale lunges out of the water, exposing its enlarged buccal cavity which expands like an accordion to accommodate a large amount of water and the krill on which it feeds.

Seeing consistent whale activity led us to deploy the CTD to collect oceanographic data, and a plankton tow to observe the abundance of food available.  Afterwards, we continued to observe the humpback whales. Though we saw many whales, not many flukes were visible, which made it difficult to photograph and identify the individual whales.

getting ready to deploy the CTD with styrofoam cups attached

Styrofoam cups ready for deployment

Right before lunch we gave up due to increasing winds which made observations difficult, so we headed North to Astoria Canyon off the Columbia River to conduct a series of CTDs. During the deepest deployment, we attached bags of Styrofoam cups decorated by our group, as well as students from some of their classrooms. The cups were sent to over 700 meters depth causing them to shrink to half their original size due to the high pressure.

styrofoam cups after their trip to the deep ocean

Styrofoam cups after their trip to the deep ocean

After recovering the CTD and cups, our group gathered to eat ice cream and enjoy the magnificent sunset in the West, mirrored by the full red moon to the East. Our last research effort for the night was another plankton tow which yielded more krill, lantern fish, a baby octopus, and many other cool critters.

full moon at sunset

Ice cream on deck

sunset

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Alishia Keller is a senior at Bandon High School in Coos County, Oregon. After high school she plans to go to college to study ecology and sustainability.

under: R/V Oceanus, Student Experiences
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By Tracy Crews

Surveying the horizon for marine mammals and seabirds

Surveying the horizon for marine mammals and seabirds

This weekend, a science party of 13 researchers, students, and teachers gathered aboard Oregon State University’s research vessel, the Oceanus, to begin a four-day research cruise aimed at providing mentoring and career connections at sea. The team mission is to conduct marine mammal and sea bird surveys and correlate sightings with oceanographic data and prey distribution. Participants in this cruise include high school teachers and students from Bandon High School, Taft High School in Lincoln City, and Warrenton High School, as well as college students from Southwestern Oregon Community College, Oregon Coast Community College and Oregon State University.

Deploying the CTD

Deploying the CTD

While adapting to life at sea, these teachers and students are learning to handle lines and deploy oceanographic equipment, how to identify marine mammals, seabirds, and plankton. They aren’t just observers but active participants in the science party, operating critical equipment, including hydraulics and data collection systems.

The first day we experienced sunshine and many successes.  Participants mastered their seasickness, and went on to deploy and retrieve plankton nets and CTDs. The abundance and types of plankton (small floating plants and animals) captured in the fine-mesh nets, and the physical parameters of conductivity (salinity), temperature, and depth measured by the CTDs will help researchers characterize the water column.

In addition, we surveyed over a dozen humpback whales and numerous porpoises, and used a drone to capture video footage of a humpback whale from above. The video data will help researchers from OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute assess the whale’s body condition, an indicator of overall health.

Life on the water is often exhausting, and after a 14 hour day, we are all ready for some much needed sleep. Laying in our bunks as we are rocked to sleep, we dream of what tomorrow will bring.

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Tracy Crews is the Marine Education Program Manager for Oregon Sea Grant, the Student STEM Experiences Coordinator for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, and the Principal Investigator for the STEM research cruise taking place this week on the R/V Oceanus.

This cruise is funded by Oregon Legislative funds with additional support from Oregon Sea Grant and Oregon State University. Track the R/V Oceanus at marinetraffic.com, and see more photos of this expedition on the Oregon Coast STEM Hub Facebook page.

under: Careers, R/V Oceanus, Student Experiences
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By Ruben Krueger

An intergalactic spaceship that flies through the blackness of space, shooting lasers, and dodging aliens—all while getting a high score. This was the game that 16 middle and high schoolers from Lincoln County coded over the course of three weeks in SeaCode, a free, introductory computer science camp.

SeaCode students and the teaching team met in the Boone Center of Newport High School. In this photo, they are wearing the camp t-shirts. (Photo: Brian Hanna)

Our society has been revolutionized by computer science, yet most of the general population is unaware of what “coding” —writing instructions for a computer—even means. Thus, Newport High School teacher Brian Hanna and I wanted to ameliorate this by creating SeaCode. Undergraduate students Jane Myrick, Gatlin Andrews, Ryan Russell and Alex Rash graciously helped us teach the camp. Interestingly enough, all five of us are former students of Mr. Hanna!

Gatlin, Ryan, and Alex are now computer science students at Oregon State University, and Jane is an English and Education double major, also at Oregon State. Brian is a math, physics, and nascent computer science teacher, and a winner of the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Typing away in the Boone Center of Newport High School, the students used a web editor to write Javascript code (with help of the p5.js graphics library). The first day was an introduction to drawing with the p5.js library, and by the end of the two hour class, the students made a ball bounce off the edges of the screen, changing color each time. The next five days were a crash-course into the fundamentals of computer science, and included concepts such as variables, functions, and object-oriented programming.

During the remainder of the camp, the students worked on their games. Each day was focused on a implementing a major game feature (the star background, the spaceship, or aliens, for example), and this was broken down into a number of tasks for them. The tasks described what they had to do, but it was their responsibility to write the solution—they were not “handed” any code. Par for the course for emerging software engineers, this challenged the students and often necessitated extended debugging sessions and concept reviews.

A student coding the game.
Photo: Brian Hanna

Once students were finished with the day’s tasks, they added new features. For example, after finishing the star background, some students made their stars twinkle and others added in a “hyperdrive” feature which made the stars move past the ship at lightspeed. By the end of the camp, all of the games looked very dissimilar as the students added different types of aliens, lasers, spaceships, and even two-player modes!

Although we wanted all of the students to finish their games, creating an enjoyable experience for the students was our main goal. Thus, we abstracted away concepts that would be overly burdensome for a beginner, keeping only what was critical for the game. Moreover, we handed out incentives: all students received a t-shirt which said “I can code” and ice cream on the last day, and we raffled off a miniature drone and Arduino microcontroller.

Our next priority was exposing the students to the esoteric world of computer science. Currently, our educational system is inept at making students aware of this field. According to computer science education group Code.org, only forty percent of all high schools have computer science programs, when more than half of all new STEM jobs will be in software development. When I attended Newport High School, we lacked a computer science course; consequently, I was only introduced to coding when I joined our school’s robotics team. Fortunately, Brian Hanna has been working to change this. He attended SuperQuest workshops*, and this year he created and taught an introductory programming course, the first of its kind at Newport High School. However, with this camp we wanted to reach students across the county, from a wide range of ages, and students who would not be able to enroll in Hanna’s semester-long course.

It is our belief that even if a student left the camp without understanding what a variable is, then at least the student is aware of this field and would be more inclined to enroll in an introductory computer science course in the future. Additionally, we highly encouraged the students to further their study of computer science, and showed them free, online resources to do so.

You Can Code

Although the students, most of whom had no experience with computer science, made prodigious growth in their abilities, we, the teaching team, learned even more. This was my first time teaching computer science and I quickly realized that knowing a subject is necessary but not sufficient to teach that subject. Clearly communicating concepts such as variable scope, functions, and objects, I now appreciate, is much more difficult than actually using them.  As an ancillary benefit, we all became more familiar with Javascript, including some of its atrocious features such as implicit variable creation, type coercion, and automatic semicolon insertion by the interpreter. (These idiosyncrasies caused a majority of the student’s bugs.)

With these reflections, we have started planning next year’s camp, and are eager to accept more volunteers, grants, or any other type of assistance. For SeaCode 2019, we hope to create two camps—one for middle schoolers, one for high schoolers—and recruit more students from demographics underrepresented in software engineering.

SeaCode was sponsored by the Partnership Against Alcohol & Drug Abuse (PAADA), the Lincoln County School District, and Mo’s Restaurants. Additionally, this camp would not have been possible without the help of Brian Hanna, who helped me create and organize the camp.

More Information

*The summer SuperQuest teacher professional development workshops in Newport were offered by the Oregon Computer Science Teachers Association and the Oregon Coast STEM Hub.


About the author
Ruben is a graduate of Newport High School and is currently a sophomore computer science major at Stanford University. His first experience with coding was during his senior year of high school through his afterschool robotics team which competed in the MATE ROV Competition. When not being productive, you may find Ruben running, watching Family Guy, or reading. He is currently working at QuickCarl (www.quickcarl.com), a tech startup based in San Diego. You can contact Ruben at ruben1@stanford.edu or www.rubenkrueger.com

 

 

 

under: Article, Computer Science, Student Experiences
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The Oregon Coast STEM Hub was awarded funding from Oregon Sea Grant to support a series of research cruises in 2018 on the Oregon State University research vessel Pacific Storm. This new program is designed to provide at-sea opportunities for high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to conduct their own research, as well as work with OSU researchers on a variety of nearshore research projects. Below is a report from Sonora Meiling, an OSU undergraduate student who used this opportunity to gather data for her research question about the use of zinc anodes in crab pots:

 

High School Students Help OSU Undergraduate With Her Research
By Sonora Meiling

Handling crabsGenerally, commercial crabbing boats along the Oregon coast put zinc anodes in their crab pots not only to alleviate corrosion issues, but also because of a long held belief that if they don’t, they won’t catch any crabs. Speaking to captains of commercial crab boats from the Newport area, they reported that crabs are deterred from pots without zinc anodes by the heat and charge generated by the corroding steel. A year ago, I looked into the scientific findings behind this, and found none. When added to the crab pots, the positive charge of the sacrificial zinc anodes ground the pot, creating a neutral charge. So I decided to set up preliminary lab trials in which crabs were given a choice of bait in a steel ring with or without zinc. To my surprise, there were a significant amount of crabs that chose the ring with zinc.

Sonora and crab potTo further investigate this phenomena, during the 2017-2018 crabbing season I went out on the F/V Winona J, a renowned commercial fishing boat on the Oregon coast, and also on the OSU research vessel, the Pacific Storm. On the Winona J, I simply observed the deckhands work and recorded data from the few pots that they had removed the zinc from. On the Pacific Storm, I was able to collect my most valuable data yet. Over the course of a week, I went out to sea on three day trips in which I deployed paired pots with and without zinc.

The first day we deployed all of the pots at two different depths and two different longitudinal locations. Three days later, I was joined by juniors from Toledo High School to retrieve and redeploy the pots. Once on board, the students determined the sex, counted, and measured the carapace width of the crabs. Some already knew how to determine the sex of the crabs, and the ones who hadn’t, quickly learned. With three roles (recorder, crab holder and crab measurer), every student was able to participate in a job they were comfortable with. They did an awesome job recording data and interpreted, without provocation, there to be no difference in abundance of crabs between the pots.

Collecting data on the R/V Pacific StormThe second day of data collection, I was joined by juniors from the IB Biology class at Newport High School. Unfortunately, there were only three students healthy enough to help out. Fortunately, these select few were eager to dive into the pots. One student had clearly handled crabs before and was able to determine their sex on their own. Another student helping was promptly able to sex the crabs on her own once I showed her a few examples.

I am very grateful for the help with days at sea through funding from Oregon Sea Grant and data collection assistance from the Toledo and Newport high school students. My hope is that engaging in a real research project led by someone that they can relate to who is not much older than they are, will encourage the high schoolers to pursue their own research interests.

 

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The Oregon Coast STEM Hub regularly shares opportunities for students to participate in STEM experiences. For example, the Hub is currently recruiting high school students to participate in a four day research cruise on OSU’s R/V Oceanus. The research cruise, which will be led by OSU researchers who study marine mammals and plankton, will take place on September 24-27, 2018, departing from Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Only students from the Oregon Coast who will be seniors for the 2018/19 school year are eligible to apply. Application materials are due by June 18. Download a flyer with details.

 

under: R/V Pacific Storm, Student Experiences
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Oregon underwater robotics competition connects students with marine technology in the Pacific Northwest

April 23, 2018 — Oregon Sea Grant has issued a challenge to students: Design and build an underwater robot that can locate the wreckage of an airplane, deploy equipment to monitor earthquakes, and install renewable energy devices, all of which will be simulated in the Lincoln City Community Center pool on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

The Oregon Regional MATE ROV competition is an annual event that encourages students from across the state to learn and apply science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills as they develop underwater robots – also known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). These underwater robots are used to complete missions based on real world issues and events.

The competition theme and missions change each year. Because the international competition will take place near Seattle, Washington, this year’s contest will highlight the role ROVs play in the Pacific Northwest, including activities that deal with archaeology, seismology and renewable energy. Through the competition scenario, students learn about the region’s seismic activity, emerging renewable energy technology, and rich aviation history.

Students also are being exposed to business practices as they are tasked with creating mock companies that work together to “manufacture, market and sell” their ROVs. This simulated company approach promotes entrepreneurship and leadership skills as students manage a project and budget, brainstorm ideas and engage in problem solving, prepare reports and marketing materials, and deliver presentations, all necessary skills for future careers.

 

The forty student teams participating in this year’s competition are from:

  • Curry County 4-H STEM from Port Orford, Brookings & Gold Beach, OR
  • Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, OR
  • Siuslaw Middle School from Florence, OR
  • Toledo Elementary from Toledo, OR
  • Newport Middle School from Newport, OR
  • Newport High School from Newport, OR
  • Taft Jr./Sr. High School in Lincoln City, OR
  • Tillamook Jr. High School in Tillamook, OR
  • Tillamook High School in Tillamook, OR
  • Warrenton Grade School in Warrenton, OR
  • Warrenton Middle School in Warrenton, OR
  • Valor Christian School International in Beaverton, OR
  • Oregon Islamic Academy in Tigard, OR
  • Tigard High School in Tigard, OR
  • Wasco County 4-H in The Dalles, OR
  • Wallace and Priscilla Stevenson Intermediate School in White Salmon, OR
  • Knights STEM Association in Ridgefield, WA

 

The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is supported by Oregon Sea Grant, the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, Oregon State University, the MATE Center, the Marine Technology Society, and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Each year, approximately 50 volunteers serve as divers, scorekeepers, and judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays and engineering presentations. Volunteers for this year’s competition work as engineers and researchers at the Sexton, Corp.; Garmin; Oregon State University; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Oregon Sea Grant; and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

The Oregon Regional MATE ROV Competition is one of 31 regional contests held around the world that are supported by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center. Those upper level teams that qualify will advance to the MATE International ROV Competition, which will be held June 21-23, 2018 at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington.

The public is invited to attend the regional competition and cheer for their local teams. The Oregon competition will be held from 8 am to 5 pm on April 28, 2018 at the Lincoln City Community Center at 2150 NE Oar Place, in Lincoln City. For more information, contact Tracy Crews, Regional Coordinator, at tracy.crews@oregonstate.edu.

Watch a video of last year’s competition:

under: Robotics, Student Experiences
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