Jason V

New Educational Models

The Jason Project was conceived of by Dr. Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute six years ago. The project is funded by EDS, NGS, Cray Research, the National Science Foundation, Toyota USA Foundation, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Department of Education. Ballard developed the Jason Project in response to his desire to connect children throughout the world with live science.

At the Belize sites, in 1994, specialized scientists conducted scientific studies, along with student and teacher Argonauts, for two weeks. Fifth to twelfth grade students from area schools attended real-time, interactive satellite broadcasts from this years expedition sites in Belize. Using the latest video, telecommunications and computer technologies, the project scientists in Belize interacted with students at 30 PIN Sites in the U.S., Bermuda, and the United Kingdom. The Jason broadcast format consists of five, one-hour broadcasts each day for the two-week period. During each broadcast Ballard and his team of scientists answered student questions, demonstrated on-site research techniques, and challenged students with observation tests. Students also remotely operated underwater cameras mounted on an ROV (remote operating vehicle) allowing them to explore the Belize coral reefs from the various PINS. The PIN sites shown include the auditorium at The National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, the New England Science Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a site at Bridgewater State College in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. The Bridgewater site was the host for the 1994 Jason V Project.

The Burnell Lab School, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts was an example of how teachers incorporated the Jason Project into the science curriculum. The 5th and 6th Grade Classes at the school led by, led by Ragen Tiliakos and Melinda Learning, developed a training model to help science teachers nationwide integrate the Jason curriculum into their regular science classes. At the Burnell school students engaged in a year long curriculum using the research projects scheduled for the Jason Project broadcasts.

While scientists in Belize studied the relationship of insects and plants students simulated the same experiments by measuring the thickness of a plant's leaves with a penetrometer. By measuring the weight of water needed to puncture a leaf the students compared the toughness of the leaves eaten by insects. The data from different leaves is collected and compared. To simulate the interdependence of ecosystems in Belize, the students constructed a model using household items that contain a terrestrial and an aquatic ecosystem. They planted bean and radish seeds to simulate and rainforest and used aquatic plants and aquatic snails for the aquatic system.

Students observed their ecosystems regularly and wrote about their observations. The Burnell students learned to simulate how stalagmites and stalactites are formed by mixing saturated solutions of washing soda and water. As the solution travels up the yarn and evaporates, the calcite in the soda remain. The students wrote reports on Jason related classroom projects which were then entered on the Jason Online folders in order share their experiences with students worldwide via the Internet.

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