I went to the teacher in charge of the whole operation, Ms. Strong, to thoroughly understand what she hopes to gain from this mission and how she thinks this project has evolved over time. “As a math teacher,” she said, “my ultimate goal is to fulfill the Sturgis Charter mission of incorporating local maritime issues into my class. By connecting students with the building and launching process, I really want to get them excited about the data that the drifters generate about ocean currents. The academic mission of the drifter project would be achieved if any math or science students decided to write their IA's analyzing the data gathered from the drifters.”
In addition to the five Sturgis students who went on the trip, many others were key in helping to make the whole project possible. According to Ms. Strong, this initiative started two years ago when she first heard about the possibility of this expedition in the spring. A senior last year from the Class of 2016 had originally helped her begin this endeavor of exploration of the ocean currents, and this year’s members of the Sturgis ROVers club were ecstatic to pick up where they left off.
A feeling of excitement and gratitude from the Capewide project soared through the five students who represented Sturgis. I asked them what it felt like in those split-seconds their drifter was dropped into the water. “For me it was the first trip I went on, and it was so cool to see something we built be set off in the water and start its journey” explained Carolyn Bailey, a sophomore at Sturgis.
As with any science project, it is as important to look ahead to the future as it is to analyze the data collected from the present. Given how successful the project was, it seemed probable these students would be drawn to the ocean again soon. I asked the students to describe the overall atmosphere of this event, whether it was very serious and tense or if they could enjoy themselves while working. “It was pretty laid back,” said Sophie Beauregard, a sophomore. “It was about getting out there and getting back. It took about an hour.”
Each student who went on this trip absolutely enjoyed the time. Being a part of the ROVers club for the first two months of my freshman year, I can confirm that every moment we worked on the drifter was a blast. Sturgis’ five students along with Ms. Strong put in an immense effort to make this project public and open to the Cape, and they should receive a great deal of credit for making this possible. It will be interesting to see if some of these students choose a career in this field, given how much each enjoyed this trip. You can track the paths of the drifters from each participating school using the link below: