Dec 032014
 

Waldport High students Ian Frame (L) and Jonathan  Durst (R) hold a wind and ocean current tracker sailboat just released by R/V Oceanus  west of Central America

Waldport High students Ian Frame (L) and Jonathan Durst (R) hold a wind and ocean current tracker sailboat they helped build just released by R/V Oceanus west of Central America


Waldport High ocean drifter released near the equator.

Waldport High ocean drifter released near the equator.

Waldport High School students have officially joined the realm of oceanographic research with the launching of their kit version of a wind current tracker in the form of a GPS empowered sailboat.

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The sailboat was launched by the crew aboard the R/V Oceanus, based in Newport, but which is now doing research at sea near the Equator off Latin America.

The drifter is being pushed around by ocean and wind currents, trackable by GPS on the internet.

The drifter is being pushed around by ocean and wind currents, trackable by GPS on the internet.

As you can see in the graphic on the left, released by Educational Passages, the Waldport High ocean current tracker is really moving around – now quite a ways north of its release point west of Panama. The students that built the wind-and current-guided sailboat are now following its movements on the internet. And through the tracking of it they’re learning about ocean and air currents near the equator which play a big role in determining the kind of weather we’re all going to get here in the northern hemisphere in the months ahead.

Similar tracking devices have been launched by high school students along the east coast the the U.S.

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This real world exercise in ocean sciences is all part of a massive coming together of schools, state and federal agencies that are devoted to understanding more about ocean conditions and the way they drive our climate.

But this effort doesn’t start and stop with ocean studies. It’s all under the academic umbrella of STEM Hub. It stands for Science – Technology – Engineering – Math, and it enlists the interest and curiosity of Oregon Coast high school students who want a real hands-on education dealing with those four subject areas. And of course the opportunities are infinite.

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Students, teachers, Oregon Coast College, Oregon State University and Hatfield Marine Science Center are finding ways to bring everyone together to learn and explore the vastness of everything that is touched by STEM Hug. It’s a very practical and exciting new commitment to our local high school kids whose lives will be forever changed by such academic and career opportunities.

These students and their teachers will explore applications for remote operated vehicles in the air and in the oceans of the world. They will witness innovations in collecting data – how data is obtained and how to scientifically analyze it. Also innovations in ocean observing, unmanned data gathering aerial vehicles, new kinds of sensors, underwater optics and vision systems and much more – not the least of which will directly affect the health of our northwest marine science economy.

In short – it’s not your father’s high school anymore.

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