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Middle Schoolers as Scientists-for-a-Day

By Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, MLML Development Associate

Middle School Students Become Scientists-for-a-Day

MLML Associate Professor Ivano Aiello leads a discussion on seafloor mud with Pacific Grove Middle School students (MLML photo).

Moss Landing Marine Labs’ Research Vessel Point Sur is currently returning from the waters of Antarctica, where it supported research funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. But before it left for the pole, students from Pacific Grove Middle School spent a day onboard the R/V Point Sur investigating local geology.

The trip was initiated by MLML Associate Professor Ivano Aiello, who wanted to bring K-12 students into the world of marine science.

Aiello recently served as the sedimentologist for a Bering Sea expedition aboard the JOIDES Resolution, a research vessel equipped to drill sediment cores from the ocean floor.

Part of the Integrated Ocean Discovery Program, the expedition’s purpose was to study the history of the oceans through sediments.

“The program has all the components – exploration, discovery, hand‐on applications of mathematical and physical science – to be an inspiration for youth, K‐12 students and their teachers,” said Aiello.

MLML’s Teacher Enhancement Program was instrumental in helping Aiello make this a reality. Program Director Dr. Simona Bartl matched Dr. Aiello’s proposed activities to middle school earth science standards, and offered the activity to past participants of TEP. Pacific Grove Middle School Teacher Kelly Terry’s class was selected.

“Having local higher education institutions willing to share their expertise and resources is huge,” she said. “We live in such a unique and special place…and learning more about what makes our area unique is one of the important things that I have brought away from my experience with TEP.”

Read more on the MLML blog.