As part of the Middle School Intersession last month, a group of students explored the rich history of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The Outer Banks have always been a favorite family vacation destination, but this group of students proved that the Outer Banks also hold a plethora of educational opportunities for eager young minds. The following paragraphs are the actual accounts of what they experienced, written by the Middle School students themselves.
We went on a tour of the Army Corps of Engineers Research Facility on Duck Island to see some of their equipment. Our tour guide, Bill Berkemeier, gave us anemometers to measure the wind speed. First, we tried it by the lab and since that did not work that well, we went out onto their pier. We all measured wind speeds of up to 15 miles an hour out there. He also talked about some of the research they do including measuring waves, temperatures and the depth of the ocean. The Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy, CRAB for short, is a three legged, very tall car-like vehicle with a VW buggy engine. They drive it into the ocean to get measurements and put instruments on the ocean floor. The wheels were almost as tall as I was. The research facility has ten people who work with over 100 computers. We learned a lot and had fun!
We had an amazing time at the Wright Brothers Memorial. The memorial itself is a huge rock with the Wright Brothers names. There are also buildings with information everywhere about Orville and Wilbur. They were born in Dayton, Ohio, and owned a bike shop. Tinkering with mechanical toys and contraptions was a passion of theirs. They constructed their own wind tunnel to help in their search for a machine that flew. In my opinion, the best part was when we got a presentation from a Park Ranger about the lift and yawl.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park consists of gigantic preserved sand dunes. On Tuesday and Wednesday, we went and flew gliders that we had made of popsicle sticks, fabric, and paper. On Tuesday, we launched our first gliders down one of the dunes. Most of the gliders proved unsuccessful with about 100 feet as our longest distance. A student requested that we come back on Wednesday with redesigned gliders since we now know what doesn’t work. The second round of glider attempts was much better, although Rose did make us differentiate between a glider and a frisbee! We also hiked a nature trail and found animal tracks of snakes, dogs, foes, and the six lined racerunner! The unscientific things we did included doing some tricks on the hills, building sand sculptures, enjoying great views of the ocean and the sound, and spelling “MSR” on the dunes. We got a lot of sand in our shoes, but it was worth it.
by Luke V. & Sarah
Today we visited the NC Aquarium. Upon arriving, we stopped briefly at the fossil pit where we reviewed a few fossil facts from our studies. Once we finished there, we entered the building and began our circuit of the exhibits. The first two displayed marsh and freshwater animals, like snakes and alligators, and were followed by an interactive exhibit on the process of sea turtle rehabilitation. The other half of the museum was composed of some large, saltwater fish and sea trout, gar, moray eels along with snapping turtles and box turtles. We saw a diver in the shark tank and he showed us the shark teeth he was finding in the sand. Concluding our visit was a room entirely devoted to a NOAA sponsored multimedia presentation on global weather patterns.
by Lilah, Alex & Alex