Fifteen-year-old students in the United States ranked 25th of 34 countries on the OECD international math test and 17th on the science test, raising serious concerns that the United States is not prepared to succeed in the global economy. The science and technology fields are exploding with employment possibilities, yet many young people are unprepared for these opportunities.
As a response to this the problem, a physical science curriculum, called Mission Ocean, has been developed by the Center for Science and Technology Education (CSTE) at Purdue University Calumet. The program, designed for 5-7th grade students, has been built around a web-based research submarine control room simulation. In the mission scenario, the web-interface was networked with CIVS 3-D visualization display technology. Students then utilized NOAA coastal charts together with readings from virtual temperature and sulfur dioxide probes to chart and locate an underwater flow stream coming from an undersea volcano.
In both 2010 and 2011, groups of local students utilized the simulation to develop problem solving and teamwork skills. The student groups responded well to the sessions, showing interest both in the science of the simulation and the visualization technology presented.
Overall, the Mission Ocean program has shown results by elevating student interest in science, mathematics and social studies.
More information on Mission Ocean can be found here: http://www.explorationearth.org/mission_ocean/ee_mo.html
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Faculty Collaborator: Robert Rivers, Dean of School of Education