NOAA Science Camp brings hydro education to life

Congratulations to our colleagues in Seattle for hosting a terrific NOAA Science Camp this month! Held at NOAA’s Seattle Sand Point facility each July, NOAA Science Camp offers opportunities for middle school students and high school students.

Thanks to Coast Survey experts stationed at our Pacific Hydrographic Branch, a section of the classes was focused on hydrography. Kids learned about bathymetry and the importance of hydrographic surveys for shipping. They saw how high-resolution sonar data is used for tsunami modeling and fish habitat.

Bringing science to life is the fun part. The NOAA experts demonstrated the fundamentals of echolocation for mapping the ocean floor. Campers learned the fundamentals of nautical charts, such as soundings and contours. They also learned how to position vessels and plot specific courses with heading and distance on NOAA’s nautical charts.

Jessica Ramsay teaches campers about latitude and longitude using a yoga ball globe.
Jessica Ramsay teaches campers about latitude and longitude using a yoga ball globe.
Campers use a “rain stick” to create virtual rain over the newly shaped topography, and see where the water flows based on the surface shape.
Campers use a “rain stick” to create virtual rain over the newly shaped topography, and see where the water flows based on the surface shape.
Campers interact with augmented reality topographic sandbox.
Campers interact with augmented reality topographic sandbox.
Campers reshape the sand surface while contour lines and color shades are re-projected in real time.
Campers reshape the sand surface while contour lines and color shades are re-projected in real time.
Camper plotting cross-sections of depths measured from sounding box.
Camper plotting cross-sections of depths measured from sounding box.
Campers examine the inside of a sounding box after graphing depths measured through its mesh “water” surface.
Campers examine the inside of a sounding box after graphing depths measured through its mesh “water” surface.

Thanks to our team for developing the materials and teaching the modules: lead physical scientist Grant Froelich, IT contractor Stephen Gallaher, lead physical scientist Peter Holmberg, JISAO summer intern Iker Madera, physical scientist Kurt Mueller physical scientist Fernando Ortiz, ERT contractor Jessica Ramsay, and IT specialist Paul Sutlovich.

UPDATE July 26, 2016: We’ve had a request for the worksheets, so we’ve posted them below.

Sounding Box WorksheetSounding Box Worksheet_crosssection

1 Reply to “NOAA Science Camp brings hydro education to life”

  1. What an awesome way to teach bathymetry! I love the high-tech sandbox.

    Can you share your Sounding Box handouts? I’m planning a unit on water & oceans for my science class this fall and I’d love to use this idea!

    Thanks!

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