Kate DeLussey: Introduction, June 6, 2012

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Kate DeLussey
Onboard NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow
July 3 – 18, 2012

Mission:  Deep Sea Coral Survey
Geographical area of cruise: Atlantic Ocean, Leaving from  Newport, RI
Date: June 6, 2012

Current Location: Philadelphia, PA; Latitude:40.0409483; Longitude:-75.1287162

Greetings and Welcome to My NOAA Blog!

I am Kathleen (Kate) DeLussey from the J. R. Lowell School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and in a city of 1.5 million, I have spent most of my life in the same five-mile radius.  The school where I teach is right down the street from the elementary school I went to when I was a child.  I am a true city kid.  You may have taken a yellow bus to school, but I rode the “El” train.  Water came out of the “tap” and early fish experiences included both rectangular “sticks” and orange pets, but we will not talk about either of those things here.

Visit Philadelphia! The city needs the oceans too!

So, you may question why a woman like me, a teacher with four children who experienced her first plane flight last year, would be excited about participating in scientific research aboard a NOAA vessel as a Teacher at Sea.  Especially when I am not exactly sure about what I am going to be doing, (Hint:  The more I learn about the Oceans and Atmosphere, the more information I have to share with our students at Lowell School.)

You may also be wondering why a Reading Specialist in a K-4 school would be so interested in what is happening in Earth’s Oceans and Atmosphere, especially when I come from such a large city.  (Hint:  We all need to learn about and care for our Earth’s Oceans.)

Finally, you may be wondering how a teacher’s experience at sea will encourage our students, and their families to connect with and learn more about the Earth’s Oceans and Atmosphere.  (Hint:  When I show you how wonderful and important our Oceans are to the life of all things on Earth, you will just have to get involved!)

If you are thinking and asking questions like these as you read, GREAT!  When students and teachers just have to know, they are behaving like scientists, and like writers.

I just had to know more about NOAA’s work.  I have read many things, seen TV programs, and visited Web sites to teach me about oceans, but I still have many questions.

How do the scientists at NOAA understand and forecast the weather?

How do they understand fish?

What types of jobs do the people at NOAA have?

How can my students prepare for careers at NOAA?

Where can my students find the answers to their own questions?

How can I find out more?

I was researching the answers to these questions on the NOAA website when I saw the chance for teachers to go to sea.  I applied, and I was chosen!  To use the words of our principal Mrs. Runner, “WHOOOO WHOOOO!”  I am so excited to be participating as a Teacher at Sea.

After I found out I was going to be a NOAA Teacher at Sea, I wanted to prepare my students for ocean learning and did what all good teachers do at the beginning of a lesson.  I asked my third grade friends in Room 207 some questions.  “What do you know about the Oceans?  Tell me everything you know!”  Of course, the students wrote the “lists” of things they “knew” about the oceans and they really shared some of their thinking as they wrote.

What the students in Room 207 report they know about the oceans:

Emily, Isaiah, and Lusine had the longest lists, and while all of the students reported they  “knew” something about oceans, most of the answers on the student lists looked like this:

  • The oceans cover most of the Earth’s surface
  • The oceans have lots of living things like fish, crabs, and sharks
  • The oceans are important to the Earth
  • You can swim in the ocean

You can see that for our students to become ocean experts, they really needed more details to add to their list of “what they know.”

(Some of the ideas the students put on the list were not true, and I do not want to put those ideas on this list, because I want to include only true information in my Blog.)  I do not want to confuse anyone about a topic as important as Earth’s Oceans.

This list only had Big Ideas about the oceans and even with my thinking, we could not add many detailsYou can see we all have a lot to learn about our oceans.

So, I am be bringing the future “Ocean Literacy” of our 1,000 students with me as I work with NOAA during my Teacher at Sea adventure.  (Hi kids!)

Our big questions for this mission will be:

  1. What are Deep Sea Coral Reefs?
  2. How do scientists study deep sea coral reefs?
  3. What do scientists do with the information they gather during their research?

I am participating on this trip because I want to find answers to our questions.  I also want to be sure everyone understands NOAA’s work so we all can participate as scientists and writers to help protect our Earth’s Oceans and Atmosphere.

Join me–not only a teacher–but also a citizen of the Earth planet as I work as a guest scientist aboard the Henry B. Bigelow, a NOAA research vessel.

Continue to ask questions as you read my blogs.  We may not find the answers to all of our Big Questions, but we will be better prepared to find our answers as we gain knowledge and as we add details to our scientific knowledge and to our writing.

Hopefully, at the end of my journey, you may be wondering if you could to this “At Sea” research too!