IMG_1217Since the inception of the St. Petersburg Science Festival in 2011, the GCOOS-RA has participated in both the Sneak-Peek Day for Florida’s Pinellas and Hillsborough County students, and the public open house that draws more than 20,000 visitors. On 17 October 2014, GCOOS Outreach and Education Manager, Dr. Chris Simoniello, and Executive Director, Dr. Barb Kirkpatrick, conducted hands-on activities to teach G4-5 students about coastal radar technology and its applications in oceanography. More than 150 students from 10 schools used lasers to simulate radio wave transmissions and Bragg backscattering, learned how the Doppler Effect is used to determine the direction and velocities of ocean currents, and tested their newly acquired knowledge with a team challenge game.   Activities were designed to be a fun way to support experiential learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines, aligned to Florida State and national education standards.IMG_1236

For the public event on 18 October, GCOOS collaborated with SECOORA and the University of South Florida (USF) in a show of U.S. IOOS interoperability. Simoniello and Kirkpatrick joined forces with SECOORA’s Vembu Subramanian (Data Manager) and Abbey Wakely (Communications Specialist), Chad Lembke, USF Center for Ocean Technology (COT) and GCOOS Gulf Glider Task Team Chair, and Jay Law, USF Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction Lab, to showcase regional observations and applications. Courtesy of USF’s Law and Lembke, a 3-meter disc buoy and COT’s autonomous underwater vehicle Murphy, respectively, were on hand and drew high media and visitor attention.

IMG_1271The GCOOS-RA was also pleased to host a joint exhibit with partner Bay Point Elementary (BPE) School. The Science, Math, Technology and Foreign Language magnet school has collaborated with GCOOS on numerous education projects, including a joint Duke Energy grant to bring water quality monitoring capabilities to their GK-5 students. Assistant Principal Barbara Hawkins and Assistant Principal/Magnet Coordinator Sara DePerro, along with BPE students and parents, shared information on the many STEM projects underway at the school and in partnership with GCOOS.