I am a postdoctoral fellow appointed jointly with Northeastern University's Marine Science Center and The Nature Conservancy. I study the impacts of storms on the resilience of coastal communities. I received my PhD from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, where I studied how major storms impacted coastal New England over the last 2,000 years. As a former outdoor educator and elementary school science teacher, I am passionate about building literacy in natural science, climate change, and coastal protection. I have extensive experience in adapting lessons, experiments, and demonstrations for all age levels and abilities, from pre-K through adult learners.
I look forward to adding to this webpage as I continue to document my outreach activities. Please check back soon!
ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIMENTS
The Scientific Method: BuoyancyElementary school students
To learn about the steps in the scientific method, students perform a short experiment about buoyancy. After a discussion about how scientists solve problems, the scientific method is introduced. Students use a handout to follow the steps of the scientific method while they explore whether a peeled or unpeeled orange floats in a bucket of water. Emphasis is placed on hypothesis building and documentation of results. The handout can be completed using drawings or writing per student ability.
- The scientific method has several distinct steps. Scientists follow these steps in their experiments to solve problems.
- Hypotheses are not always correct, and it is okay to be wrong in science!
- Buoyancy is the ability of an object to float in water or air.
- An unpeeled orange will float in water, whereas a peeled orange will sink. This is due to added buoyancy from the peel, which effectively acts like a life jacket.
Storm Surge AttenuationElementary- to college-level students
To visualize the destructive impacts of storm surge, students simulate hurricane winds using a hairdryer over a plastic bin of sand and water. Students then experiment with different attenuation techniques, including hard armoring (adding a wall of pebbles), living shorelines (sponges to represent a salt marsh), and beach nourishment (adding extra sand). Finally, students experiment with all three techniques in combination. Students are expected to write hypotheses and to chronicle results of the experiment. After determining which attenuation techniques worked best and why, the discussion can expand to the various social, economic, and physical barriers to the different methods.
- Storm surge, often associated with hurricanes, is a significant threat to coastal communities.
- There are several different methods to attenuate storm surge.
- Each method has associated social, economic, and physical costs and benefits.
Download the lesson plan here: .PDF
How Tides Work: A Movement ActivityPreschool and elementary school students
The tidal cycle fundamentally influences coastal communities. This movement activity allows students to physically visualize how the moon’s gravitational pull causes the water on Earth to bulge on the sides closest to and farthest from the moon. Students wear blue, brown, or white to represent the water on earth, the earth, and the moon, respectively. A student representing the earth stands in the middle of an open space. Four students representing the water on earth hold hands and surround the earth. A student representing the moon stands outside of the circle. The water is then pulled toward the moon as the earth rotates. For an added challenge, the moon can rotate around the earth as well!
- The moon rotates counterclockwise around the earth.
- The gravitational pull of the moon causes tides on the earth.
- High tides occur where the water bulges; low tides occur on the opposing sides.