From the sea floor to the classroom: IODP Deep Earth Academy educational outreach

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Michael J. Passow, Dwight Morrow HS and NESTA, Englewood, NJ; and L. Peart and S. Katz Cooper

Since the 1960s, scientific discoveries based on cores obtained by the U.S. drilling vessels Glomar Challenger and JOIDES Resolution (JR) have revolutionized understanding of Earth's geological and climatic histories. In recent years, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) has expanded opportunities for classroom educators to participate in research cruises and subsequent analysis of cores. IODP's Deep Earth Academy (I-DEA) facilitates and develops programs and materials based on scientific ocean drilling expeditions and Earth Systems Science to strengthen students' mathematical, science, and analytical skills. In early summer 2009, fifteen teachers participated in the 4th “School of Rock” aboard the JR during a transit from San Diego, CA to Victoria, BC. The workshop provided daily opportunities for classroom educators to conduct hands-on analyses of sediments and rock cores with scientists and technicians who specialize in IODP research. This year's workshop focused on how drilling and downhole logging technologies shed light on the hydrology, geology, and tectonics of the Juan de Fuca plate and Eastern Pacific. The 2009 School of Rockers from across the US were joined by colleagues from Japan, Spain, and France, emphasizing the international cooperation long found among the JR scientific teams. Beginning with Expedition 320 in March 2009, and for all scheduled expeditions to come, I-DEA will coordinate Teachers-at-Sea and education programs originating from every part of the JR. Resulting collaborations between K – 12 and informal educators, and IODP scientists and staff have produced dozens of curricular packets, posters, DVDs, and other educational resources made available on the Internet and through workshops at science conferences. Through these activities, many thousands of students, teachers, and members of the general public have gained better knowledge of the floors of the oceans and what they reveal about Earth's past. More information is available at http://www.oceanleadership.org/education/deep-earth-academy/.