Student Enabled Network of Sensors for the Environment Using Innovative Technology (SENSE IT)
Sixty high school teachers, 50 guidance counselors and 3,000 of their students in New York’s Hudson and St. Lawrence river valleys are challenged to design, build, test, deploy and interpret their own water quality sensors.
The Student Enabled Network of Sensors for the Environment using Innovative Technology (SENSE IT) project will integrate STEM skills into a robust interdisciplinary curriculum and teacher development effort by teaching 3,000 high school students to design, build, test, deploy and interpret their own environmental sensors. SENSE IT will span three distinct residential regions in New York's Hudson and St. Lawrence River valleys, as well as a diverse socioeconomic and racial spectrum. SENSE IT will reach at least 60 teachers in the region, providing 120 hours of professional development, in-class support and necessary equipment, while directly increasing awareness of STEM career opportunities for students and teachers. SENSE IT will generate four project-based educational modules: 1) Sensor development, 2) Sensor deployment and data gathering, 3) Water quality investigation and 4) Sharing data across observatories. Each module will require three to five typical 45-minute class periods and include comprehensive lesson plans to accommodate insertion into any standard high school STEM curriculum (mathematics, chemistry, general science, physics, environmental science and computer science), while meeting state and national education standards. The objectives of the SENSE IT project are to 1) develop a sensor technologies curriculum for the high school classroom; 2) use environmental sensors as an engaging context to teach technology, engineering, mathematics, science, and critical workforce skills; 3) encourage learners to look at a local problem and data within a global perspective; 4) promote awareness of sensor network related careers and opportunities among high school teachers, students, parents and guidance counselors; and 5) emphasize that mathematics is key to all STEM disciplines and careers.