Nags Head Elementary School (NHES) 5th graders came rolling, buzzing, and plunging into the 2018-2019 school year as the first to experience the recently updated Marine Technology education program offered at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI). In this fast-paced and hands-on program, students rotated through a series of activities and challenges to demonstrate some of the many applications of technology and robotics in coastal and marine science. The k-12 Marine Technology program is one of several field trip options that CSI offers, each fulfilling a unique set of grade-appropriate essential standards and able to accommodate a wide range of group sizes.
Over the course of the program, NHES students used code to navigate a rolling robot through a maze, flew an indoor drone research mission, built and tested remotely operated vehicles (ROV), and more. Each activity in the program is designed to mirror actual uses of marine technology in scientific research at CSI, as well as the greater scientific community. For example, coding and flying a simple drone mission simulates the way CSI researchers utilize drones to map and 3-dimensionally model the shoreline on site for erosion and stabilization research.
Providing longterm engagement opportunities for our local students and future scientists—from field trips to summer camps to internships—is an integral aspect of the CSI education and outreach program, and one which will continue to grow with research at the Coastal Studies Institute at ECU Outer Banks Campus.