STEM Connections: The International Space Station as a STEM tool in Detecting Marine Plastic Debris from Earth Orbit
STEM Connections brings together scientists and educators for a series of six online STEM-focused presentations to motivate educators to inquire, explore, and share new information with students. Topics range from implications of climate change on winter economies to analyzing personal genetic testing results from popular online services like 23andMe.
Schedule (all presentations are from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.):
January 11: Winter weather in a warming world, Dr. Elizabeth Burakowski, UNH: Winters in the northeastern United States have shortened by three weeks over the past 100 years. What can we expect in a warmer world? In this talk Dr. Burakowski will discuss past and future changes in winter climate in the northeast.
February 8: Personal genomics, Dr. Sarah Prescott, UNH: Have you heard of 23andme? Curious about what the results look like and what information you can glean from them? Come join me in an interactive presentation where you can see real personal genetic testing results from 23andme, Ancestry.com, and Ubiome (gut microbiome test). We will discuss what these tests are (and aren’t), how they are done, and what the data can tell you. We will explore areas you are interested in, which include genetic traits, ancestry and populations, disease risk and carrier traits, and more!
March 8: Asking questions and hunting answers, Tristan Bowen, Bedford School District. How do you help youth to truly engage in science? Treat them like scientists! This presentation will focus on how one teacher in Bedford engages her learners in science by walking them through the science process from asking questions to sharing their findings both locally and nationally.
April 12: Capturing the Night Sky with Your Camera – Astrophotography Basics for Everyone, Dr. John Gianforte, UNH. Over the past year, during the Covid 19 pandemic, thousands of people of all ages have discovered the ancient practice of looking up at the nighttime sky and wondering what it was all about. Capturing the Night Sky will help you join those who have chosen to adopt a new way of seeing and enjoying Nature. We’ll define astrophotography and go over some basics to help you and your family or class get started taking your own images of various celestial objects and events. Access to or familiarity with a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera would be helpful.
May 10: The International Space Station as a STEM tool in Detecting Marine Plastic Debris from Earth Orbit, Dr. Barry Rock: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) has been collecting massive quantities of hazardous floating plastic debris since the 1960s. Scientists are studying ways to detect, map and monitor this debris using satellites that orbit the Earth. Barry Rock is developing K-12 STEM activities to engage students in requesting images of the GPGP from the Sally Ride EarthKAM aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Through this curriculum, students learn about the role of the ISS and STEM disciplines in mapping and quantifying marine debris from orbit, as well as the harm caused to Earth’s oceans by these plastics.
June 14: Phenology, Diane Deluca, NH Audubon
STEM Connection Series is hosted by the STEM Docents which trains and coordinates teams of volunteers, known as STEM Docents, and K-12 educators so they are highly successful in engaging and inspiring New Hampshire K-12 youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects. This program aligns with national recommendations to actively engage learners in doing science to enhance their understanding of the scientific concepts and the process of conducting science. This work is in partnership with 4-H and the Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education.