18th Symposium on Education


Engaging undergraduates in Ocean-Atmosphere experiments: From teaching to research and outreach

Amit Tandon, Univ. of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth, MA; and L. Illari and J. Marshall

The “Weather in a tank” demonstrations (http://paoc.mit.edu/labguide/) are being implemented at a group of universities (UW Madison, Penn State, Millersville University, Johns Hopkins and UMass Dartmouth and MIT) to introduce many atmospheric and ocean circulation related concepts to students at various levels. An elegant and easily transportable rotating table has been designed for a series of experiments that simulate diverse processes in the atmosphere-ocean system. The experiments have been used very successfully in education at our university and partner universities.

We discuss two aspects of these demonstrations: (1) the use of rotating fluid experiments in undergraduate education and how they can be used to engage physics undergraduates in research via a hands-on experience and (2) the use of experiments in outreach and general education. The implementation at UMass Dartmouth has led to the engagement of undergraduates in research, the prototyping of new lab experiments in collaboration with MIT, and to the publication of our results in a peer-reviewed journal. Demonstrations have also been used in outreach settings for the general public, as well as to attract incoming freshmen to our field. Engaging the audience by asking them to make predictions prior to the demonstrations, and linking them to atmospheric and oceanic flows, enhances their impact.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (1.1M)

Poster Session 1, Educational Initiatives Poster Session
Monday, 12 January 2009, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM, Hall 5

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