Location: Faial, Azores
One can tell that the semester is reaching its midway point as the students are all studying for their OCE midterm, and today was their literature review presentation day. About 20 days ago, the students picked a topic of their choice, including sea turtles, aquaculture, oil spills, erosion, hurricanes, hydrothermal vents, and many more. They have been furiously working on it since then, as it was their first big assignment for OCE. It entailed them reading scientific journal articles regarding their topic and then doing a review of 5-7 papers of their choice. The students were then to give an eight-minute presentation about their topic to teach their peers. It is a great way to have one student become an ‘expert’ on a topic and then share the knowledge with others. So throughout the day, the presentations were broken up with half-hourly checks on the tide and sun angle so that during the next OCE class, the students can look at the research they collected and figure out the tidal change at our location and estimate our current location. The height was measured off the dock we are currently alongside, and the sun angle was measured with the sextant on board what a great way to have a cross-curriculum activity between OCE & MTE. The students also did a plankton lab with Kimi and Emma today. A few people got in the dinghy last night and this morning to do a plankton tow and collect some samples at depth and at the surface. The students then looked at these results under a microscope to understand how diatoms and zooplankton move throughout the water column, depending on the time of day. Lastly, they prepped Chinese lanterns and messages in a bottle to study wind and currents. The biodegradable Chinese Lanterns were prepped with a note on waterproof paper that if it was found to email Emma with its location so we can study where it traveled with the wind. After asking the marina and Maritime police if it was okay if we released these and got their permission, we sadly aren’t able to do it this evening as it is too windy here in Faial. Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better evening, or maybe in Gibraltar. The glass bottles were stuffed with a note as well, but instead of just putting the lid on it, because the pop-top inside of it has plastic in it, the students put wax in the top and covered it with aluminum foil. We are planning on tossing these over on the passage to Gibraltar. The day also ended with clean laundry for those that decided to send it out to be done while here, and after dinner, we will watch the second half of the movie, Deep Water. It is about the first solo around the world race, but more specifically, a relatively unknown person in the scheme of things that built his own boat for the race. Needless to say, the students are extremely into the movie and looking forward to finishing it this evening! Today was a great day in the Azores, especially in the Science world and experiential education.