CBEC Launches STEM Program

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Hanna Spongberg, ROVER instructor, assists Wye River Upper Schools students who are launching a ROVER for a water monitoring mission.

The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) in a cooperative agreement with NASA added a cutting-edge STEM educational program to its educational endeavors.  This program is designed for Middle and High School students.

The program consists of environmental sampling techniques using NASA  approved equipment and associated technology.  Students will learn types of equipment and computer-related devices for sampling the local atmosphere and water.  The students will collect, interpret, and record data for use by scientists, institutions, agencies and general citizenry.  The local data will be downloaded to the GLOBE website (Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment- GLOBE.gov) and be available for researchers world-wide.

The students will collect atmospheric data on CBEC property by following guidelines in the  AEROKAT program.  The AEROKAT program involves flying kites outfitted with data collecting technologies and cameras.  They will capture and process their own data about near-surface rates of temperature, pressure, relative humidity and remote sensing.  They will be exposed to the ‘world of digital literacy’ through use of the equipment and data collection.  This skill set will benefit students in both academic and work experiences.

The ROVER program is associated with local water monitoring.  The ROVER is a remotely operated aquatic platform to measure and analyze data, such as oxygen levels, temperature, nutrients, and pH of water.  Students will operate the Rover on local waterways and collect data for downloading to the GLOBE website.

Students will learn how to interpret the data and determine local atmospheric and water conditions, identify potential problems and solutions under the guidance of CBEC staff and NASA resource partners.  Students will have the opportunity to work with professionals in the field.

Field trips to CBEC will give students the opportunity for hands-on experience with the AEROKATS and ROVERS and meet STEM requirements.  All activities are NGSS aligned and incorporate STEM education using real-world settings.  For more information go to bayrestoration.org/AREN and see what activities are available or contact jwink@bayrestoration.org.

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