Karen Rasmussen, a science teacher at Ocean Shores Elementary School, recently returned after assisting scientists over 11 days of a two-leg research mission surveying the ocean floor off the coast of Washington.

“This adventure has been a great learning experience for me and, for the scientists involved, as they are using new equipment and software,” said Rasmussen. “Collecting data is such a great part of science investigation, and I was honored to have been a part of it. I would like to bring some of what I learned into my classroom to help spark curiosity and wonder of the ocean in my students.”

Rasmussen boarded the NOAA Ship Tatoosh on June 27th in Port Angeles, Wa and assisted the scientists as they surveyed the water column and seafloor with high-tech sonar equipment. Data will be used for understanding the underwater conditions in that area which will allow them to better utilize and protect the ocean’s resources. Rasmussen also kept a blog of her experience, accessible at http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/2011/rasmussen/ </exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://teacheratsea.noaa.gov/2011/rasmussen/>.

“NOAA’s Teacher at Sea program immerses teachers in hands-on research experiences that give them clearer insight into our ocean planet, a greater understanding of maritime work and studies, and increased knowledge of environmental literacy,” said Jennifer Hammond, the program’s director. “Participating in real-world research allows teachers to gain experience actually doing science, which makes a significant impact when they bring back their knowledge to their classrooms, teaching students how the oceans affect their lives.”

Now in its 21st year, the program has provided over 600 teachers the opportunity to gain first-hand experience participating in science at sea. This year, NOAA received applications from more than 250 teachers, and chose 33 to participate in research cruises. The educators chosen are able to enrich their curricula with the depth of understanding they gain by living and working side-by-side, day and night, with scientists studying the marine environment.



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