Students learn about deep-sea secrets through Nautilus program

Nautilus programHouston-area educators were introduced on June 9 to members of the Nautilus Corps of Exploration from the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) for an opportunity to learn innovative ways to engage their students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts at the Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy.

The Academy, made possible by a partnership between CITGO Petroleum Corporation and OET, allowed teachers to learn from OET how to bring deep ocean exploration resources back to their schools. The immersive, day-long professional development workshop introduced teachers to a curriculum that brings experiences from OET’s 64-meter research ship Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus and its remotely operated vehicles exploring the seafloor directly into classrooms through live telepresence sessions.

Members of the Nautilus Corps of Exploration incorporated information found in current oceanographic research and real ocean exploration expeditions into lessons plans provided to participating teachers. The educators received a set of STEM learning modules intended to supplement their existing curricula with resources designed to lead students through the components of deep-sea exploration, including sonar mapping, oceanography and marine archaeology.

(Currently, the ROVs are exploring newly identified methane seep sites off the coast of Oregon. We are sampling sediment and methane bubbles and have deployed a hydrophone to listen to the deep ocean! The Nautilus live camera can be seen in action at http://www.nautiluslive.org/)

Enriching content

“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 for OET. “Through this program, educators inspire a sense of curiosity and discovery among their students by providing hands-on experience in deep-sea exploration.”

“CITGO and OET have partnered closely to maximize the educational opportunities available to students not only in Houston, but throughout Texas, Illinois and Louisiana, as well. We believe that STEM, in particular, provides a strong foundation for future careers in high-demand professions, such as engineers, technicians, environmentalists and teachers,” said CITGO President and CEO Nelson Martínez. “We hope that the Nautilus Exploration Program CITGO STEM Academy enables teachers’ ability to bring real-world lessons about ocean exploration to their classrooms, so they can better provide their students with that foundation.”

Since 2014, CITGO and OET have partnered to create STEM educational opportunities for teachers and students nationwide. This effort reflects a broader initiative by CITGO to promote academic exploration in the STEM fields. The CITGO-OET partnership also extends support for the Nautilus Ambassadors Program, which brings educators and students aboard E/V Nautilus to travel with and learn from deep-sea exploration experts. This summer, educators and OET experts will sail off the coast of British Columbia in Canada to Los Angeles on an expedition from May through September.

About Ocean Exploration Trust
The Ocean Exploration Trust was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard. Our international program centers on scientific exploration of the seafloor launched from aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel. In addition to conducting scientific exploration, the Nautilus Exploration Program offers telepresence to explorers on shore and the public via live video, audio and data feeds. The program also includes an education component that brings educators and students on oceanographic expeditions. – PRNewswire.

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