Before I left for Antarctica, Stacy sent me a diagram of a photo frame that Bob had designed for an underwater student experiment. My students looked for ways to improve the frame design, and then I picked up donated supplies from our local Home Depot. I e-mailed one of my past students who is a great builder of things – including a great big catapult – and Sam Parrott agreed to build the frame for us.

    Then, Janeece Henes, FALA art teacher extraordinaire, and her photography students took digital pictures of all my students, printed them to the correct size, laminated them with donated supplies from our local Staples and sent me to Antarctica with dozens of student photographs.

    Janeece and Amanda Reid laminating photos for Antarctica

    Korey Walton organizing photos on the computer

    Sofia Nicholson trimming photos to fit the frame

    The experiment design was to put the photos, attached to the frame, underwater in Antarctica. The video camera on the R.O.V. would take images of the photo frame under four different conditions. Using the variables of distance and light level, the camera caught images at low light and close distance, low light and far distance, bright light and close distance, and bright light and far distance.

    The students, using the digital images from the ROV, then determine what percentage of students they can identify from the images. This determination of visual acuity will help Stacy and the SCINI team determine the best distance and light levels for doing their underwater invertebrate surveys. A goal, to conserve both energy and time, is to scan the seafloor from as far away as possible (surveying a larger area) and using the lowest light level possible to reduce impact on the ocean critters.

    The SCINI team was able to accomplish this experiment after I left the Ice. This link takes you to the SCINI journal entry on the day they completed the experiment.

    You can see that it took a school (Thank you Janeece and students!) and a community (Thank you Sam, Home Depot and Staples!) to accomplish this underwater experiment in Antarctica!