PIMSER Helps Princeton University SOCCOM Adopt-A-Float Program

PIMSER was contacted by the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM) at Princeton University to identify schools in Kentucky and Tennessee to partner in their Adopt-A-Float program. This opportunity gives students real-world data materials (reports, videos, graphics, animations) on the Southern Ocean and on the specific work being done by SOCCOM researchers to use in their classroom learning. Students get to name one of the SOCCOM floats that are being distributed around Antarctica. Once deployed, the students are encouraged to use the data from that float for projects they and their teacher find interesting. Younger students generally use the float as an introduction to geography of the far southern hemisphere, Earth coordinate systems, and as a very basic introduction to ocean science. Middle school age students are generally into graphing techniques as well as oceanography including some physics, chemistry and/or biology. The mean float lifetime is 5 years so students can use data from their float over an extended period of time. The overall goal is to get students interested in STEM! 

Kentucky now has two schools involved in the program:

Rockcastle Middle School 
Floater Name: Rocket Penguin
Teacher: Ken Mattingly (7th grade)
Number of students: 100
How Ken will use the data: Incorporate it into our weather/climate unit, showing decreasing temperature in the southern hemisphere while our temperatures are trending up will help drive some cognitive dissonance with my students. Additionally, we have an energy unit that we can pull some of the data into.

Model Lab School
Floater Name: Fernando
Teacher: Adrian Nix (7th grade)
Number of students: 60
How Adrian will use the data: Real world application to scientific research. Student involvement/investment in that research. The data can be used in a myriad of ways; climate, weather, general data analysis techniques. 

SOCCOM is a multi-institutional program focused on unlocking the mysteries of the Southern Ocean and determining its influence on climate. Housed at Princeton University, SOCCOM is supported by the National Science Foundation. The SOCCOM project is partnering with teachers and classrooms across the country to inspire and educate students about the Southern Ocean and climate change through its “Adopt-A-Float” initiative. It creates a powerful opportunity for elementary- and secondary-aged students to engage directly with world-class scientists and learn about their research by naming and tracking SOCCOM floats. The process is simple. George Matsumoto of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute identifies science teachers interested in oceanography and climate and pairs them with SOCCOM scientists scheduled to deploy floats in the Southern Ocean. He then works with partners at Climate Central to provide the teachers with background materials (reports, videos, graphics, animations) on the Southern Ocean and on the specific work being done by SOCCOM researchers. The students have the opportunity to give a soon-to-be-deployed float a name, and follow its progress to sea through blogs written by their paired SOCCOM scientists. Students can:

  • Find their float on our adopted floats table
  • Explore data collected via a special adopt-a-float version of SOCCOMViz
  • Learn about everything from float technology to what you get to eat at sea in our SOCCOM FAQ

Read more about the Adopt-A-Float initiative

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