December 19, 2008
HPWREN and StSS Teams Collaborate with Mountain Empire Middle School
for Ocean Terracing LIVE
by Kimberly Mann Bruch, HPWREN and StSS
On December 1, Mountain Empire Middle School science students
participated in "Ocean Terracing LIVE" with Marine Biologist Benjamin
Pister at the Cabrillo National Monument intertidal area. Dr. Pister
shared information regarding ocean terracing and then fielded an
array of questions posed by the middle school students.
The setup at the Cabrillo end consisted of the HPWREN/StSS LIVE
backpack as well as a tripod while the setup at the Mountain Empire
end included a Macintosh laptop connected to a projector. The LIVE
session utilized Skype as the communication tool for both audio and
video, which were solid throughout the session. Although the fog
prevented clear vision of the details at the coast, the weather
allowed students at the education site to better understand the
variation between inland and coastal weather conditions.
The December 1 activity allowed participants to catch a
glimpse of the intense morning fog frequently seen at the intertidal
area during the winter months.
"The students were very interested in how our weather conditions in
the inland valley were so different from those along the coast," said
Mountain Empire School Science Teacher Roger Wynn. "Even though we
are only about 60 miles away, the weather variations can be extreme."
"It was Benjamin's great real-time interaction with the students,
along with the inclimate weather at the science site, that made the
students very interested in not only experiencing the intertidal area
at Cabrillo via LIVE, but making it feasible for them to visit the
intertidal area - either by a weekday school fieldtrip or with their
families on the weekends."
Top: Jim Hale (HPWREN) and Susan Teel (StSS) setup and test the
equipment used for the "Ocean Terracing LIVE" activity between
Cabrillo's intertidal area and the Mountain Empire Middle School.
Right: Cabrillo Marine Biologist Benjamin Pister listens intently
while Mountain Empire Middle School science students ask real-time
questions about ocean terracing at Point Loma's intertidal area.
Specific student comments included the following:
"What I found interesting is that I found out what a terrace was.
I would like to learn more about where are the most terraces and do
any animals live in the terraces. One suggestion to make the field
experience better is if we could visit the terraces."
"What I found interesting is that we got to see the beach. I would
like to actually get there."
"We got to see the fog, all the fossils we saw on the ground were
interesting. We need to get there and see everything. We need to
actually go there."
"We got to see the terraces and fossils that are in the cliffs. We
should go in the water and look under water at the terrace."
"What I found interesting was that it was live and we got to ask
questions about the terraces which are cool. One suggestion to make
the field experience better is actually going to the beach so we can
view it better and it's more fun."
"I found the backpack interesting, but what kind of creatures live on
the ocean floor. And actually going there is better."
"It was so realistic I felt like I was there. If people use to live
around there I would like to know more about that. I would like to
have our own computer with a webcam instead of looking up front of the room."
"I liked when we learned about the tidepools and how they worked when
we got to learn about the details and important things about the
tidepools and we got a good footage. I would like to know more about
the terraces. To actually try going to the field trip and go
there to experience it ourselves and not do the computer thing."
"I thought the field trip was cool because I learned more about
terraces and how they are made and how long it took for them to fully
develop. I would want to learn more about the terraces and actually
go there and not on web cam."
"What I found interesting about yesterday's field trip was how old
the terrace can get. What I would like to know more about is the new
terraces forming. One suggestion to make the field experience better
is going there."