Professional Development

Teachers Dive into Deep-Sea Exploration with STEM Nautilus Program

A non-profit organization dedicated to ocean exploration has teamed up for a second year with an oil and gas company to deliver training to teachers on how to engage their students in related STEM topics. The Ocean Exploration Trust's Nautilus project worked with CITGO Petroleum on delivering a day of teacher professional development related to the ship's deep ocean exploration work.

The 64-meter research ship, the Nautilus, runs remotely operated vehicles to explore the seafloor while streaming video and audio into classrooms and responding to student questions. Recent projects include examining a ship that had been torpedoed and sunk by the Imperial Japanese Navy off the west coast of the United States during the early months of World War II; a study of naturally produced methane fuel seepage along the length of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, from southern British Columbia to northern California; and visiting exotic underwater life in the Barkley Canyon, a formation off the coast of British Columbia and Washington.

During the STEM workshop, teachers picked up a set of science, technology, engineering and math learning modules intended to supplement their existing lessons with resources for leading students through topics such as sonar mapping, oceanography and marine archaeology.

"We equip teachers with the resources necessary to bring enriching, interactive STEM coursework to their classrooms with support from CITGO," said Allison Fundis, vice president of education, outreach and communications the trust, in a prepared statement. "Through this program, educators inspire a sense of curiosity and discovery among their students by providing hands-on experience in deep-sea exploration."

This summer the CITGO-Ocean Exploration Trust partnership also extends to bringing teachers, students and others on board the ship as science communications fellows and science and engineering interns for portions of an expedition sailing from British Columbia to Los Angeles.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.