We at Virginia Sea Grant are currently writing our strategic plan, which will guide our programming over the next 5 years. We have broken our plan into several pieces focusing on all sorts of marine-related topics, including Coastal & Ocean Literacy. As a part of our plan writing, we gathered a group of Virginia education professionals who had all kinds of backgrounds. Something that rose to the surface was reaching educators in the far western part of Commonwealth, and getting these teachers the coastal and ocean content they need since many of them, and their students, have never visited the coast. This led me to think about how to build a context for these landlocked teachers to use ocean observing systems in their curricula.
Well, what a better way to bring the coast and oceans to a landlocked classroom than with coastal and ocean observing systems and some real-time data?!
Because many students are so intrigued by real time coastal and ocean data, it may serve as a good hook to attract students to the sciences with all of the different types of people it takes to run a “well-oiled” ocean observing system. Comparing data from local USGS stream observing stations with stations located near the coast and way out in the ocean will help students begin to make connections between their local waterways and downstream effects.
The list of uses of observing system and real-time data is potentially endless. This is yet another benefit to being a member of the COSEE NOW community center–idea sharing! So tell us, how do you use ocean observing and real-time data? Are you landlocked? Have your students ever been to the ocean? Has using observing system data pulled your students into making watershed connections? Share your thoughts today!