$150,000 grant expands submarine simulation project

Purdue University Calumet’s Center for Science and Technology Education has received a $150,000 grant from the Office of Naval Research to expand its innovative, submarine simulation enrichment project for upper elementary and middle school students.

Through the Mission Ocean project, students and teachers at Hammond’s Clark, Eggers, Gavit and Scott Middle Schools plus schools in southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky learn and apply science, engineering and mathematics concepts to solve a virtual deep sea problem from a simulated submarine control room. Hammond schools became engaged in the project last year thanks to a grant from Fifth Third Bank of Northwest Indiana to train teachers.

“Mission Ocean is a year-long physical science curriculum for fifth through seventh grade students that combines submarine control room simulation with hands-on, multi-disciplinary learning,” Purdue Calumet Dean of the School of Education and Center for Science and Technology Director Robert Rivers said. “The project also helps students build skills and confidence to conduct team-based problem-solving.”

During the project, students rotate to different watch stations to work collaboratively with classroom peers to apply skills and concepts learned in science activities. The project also enables students to incorporate social studies and language arts as they develop global workforce skills.

The grant, the first awarded to Purdue Calumet by the Office of Naval Research, will build on the original Mission Ocean (NavOps Deep Submergence) project developed in a Community Service Partnership with the U.S. Naval Reserves since 1996. Grant funding also will support re-writing of the submarine control room simulation and the conversion of submarine operations into a virtual, three-dimensional undersea environment utilizing Purdue Calumet’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation.

Administered by Purdue Calumet’s School of Education, the Center for Science and Technology Education seeks to provide educational research and management support to P-12 educators while advancing innovative technological platforms for science and mathematics learning.