Tag Archives: evaluation

2014 Advisory Board Meeting: LakeViz visits the Great Lakes Science Center

The Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) hosted the 2014 LakeViz Advisory Board Meeting on May 29 in Cleveland, Ohio, next to beautiful Lake Erie. Joining the meeting were advisors Donna Cox (University of Illinois), John Baek (NOAA), Kate Haley-Goldman (Audience Viewpoints Consulting), and Val Davillier (Great Lakes Science Center).

Given that the LakeViz3D grant is in its third year and nearing completion, we asked the advisors to help distill the intellectual merits of the project accomplished to date and to identify synergistic activities and resources that could be used to carry the work into its next stage.

All advisors noted that the primary challenge faced by the project – applying research-grade tools and making data available for informal science education in science centers – is an important and common problem across scientific disciplines. For example, Advisor Cox relayed the long-term struggle of planetariums developing practitioner-friendly tools to visualize large astrophysical datasets.

LakeViz members attended the Advisory Board meeting at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and were impressed by the Center’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, including their 225kW wind turbine and on-site array of solar panels.
LakeViz members attended the Advisory Board meeting at the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and were impressed by the Center’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, including their 225kW wind turbine and on-site solar panel array.  Photo courtesy Heather Segale.

During the discussion, the group identified a greater need to document the process of connecting research tools (and especially visualization tools) to end user, in an effort to make institutions embarking on such projects aware of the level of commitment needed to be successful, as well as the pitfalls they may encounter.

To make progress on this goal, advisors suggested (1) convening a museum consortium to identify and discuss the research tool to end-user process, common problems, and success stories and (2) developing decision trees and training documents to disseminate to the greater community. Accordingly, the LakeViz3D team has been working on documenting our process for designing and creating 3D visualizations for educational institutions. We are looking forward to sharing our work in an upcoming publication!

Besides the advisory board meeting, the LakeViz team also toured the Great Lakes Science Center and all of the wonderful exhibits it has to offer, including the ‘Great Lakes Story’ exhibit aboard the W.G. Mather. In addition, GLSC partners such as the Cleveland Water Alliance and Stone Laboratory inspired us with their work on sustainable development and freshwater field research education, respectively. We ended our trip with a fun biology activity, led by an educator from the Great Science Academy, a teen maker program at GLSC: we used laser-cut cardboard parts and LEDs to create DIY fish with biological adaptations of our own design.

We gratefully thank Advisor Val Devillier and Kirsten Ellenbogen, President of the Great Lakes Science Center for sharing their space and hosting the meeting.

LakeViz Advisory Board meeting attendees toured the many creative freshwater ecology displays and interactives in the ‘Great Lakes Story’ exhibit aboard the W.G. Mather (http://www.greatscience.com/exhibits/steamship-william-g-mather/history-facts.aspx).
LakeViz Advisory Board meeting attendees toured the many creative freshwater ecology displays and interactives in the ‘Great Lakes Story’ exhibit aboard the W.G. Mather (http://www.greatscience.com/exhibits/steamship-william-g-mather/history-facts.aspx).  Photo courtesy Heather Segale.
The Great Science Academy, a teen maker program at GLSC, led us through a fun biology activity, in which we used laser cut cardboard parts and LEDs to create DIY fish.  The activity is used to teach students about evolution and adaptation.
The Great Science Academy (GSA), a teen maker program at GLSC, led us through a fun biology activity, in which we used laser cut cardboard parts and LEDs to create DIY fish. GSA uses the activity to teach students about evolution and adaptation.

Testing Tabletop Models for Lakes, Algae, and Plankton

Earlier this month we had a lot of fun testing a few of our hands-on tabletop activities. On the museum floor at the Lawrence Hall of Science, 70 people, ranging from elementary school-age children to adults, got a sneak preview of these new prototype activities and gave us their feedback to make them better. One of the tabletops we tested was the Seiche Wave Model. The model is a long, narrow tank that can be divided into sections for different colored water of different temperatures. Once the divider is removed, the different temperatures of water form layers, called thermoclines, based on density due to their temperature. By blowing air through straws, visitors saw how wind can make waves on a lake surface and also create internal waves, called seiche waves. Another favorite action children really enjoyed was pouring water through a tube to simulate how streams can produce seiche waves in a lake too.

Kids also liked playing the Algae and Plankton computer games. In this game, visitors learned how to identify different types of plankton and found out what kinds of phytoplankton zooplankton like to eat. Thanks to all the participants and their feedback, we know these activities are on the right track in nurturing curiosity and raising awareness about lakes and we’ve also gained some ideas on how to improve them.

-by Min Shih and edited by Maia Werner-Avidon