NOAO < EDUCATION < ASTRO Chile: Remoste Sensing Earth

Remote Sensing of the Earth Activity (2006, 2007)

From February through April 2006, the ASTRO-Chile staff formulated, field-tested and fine-tuned a comparative remote-sensing activity for bilingual science students at middle and high school grades in Tucson and Chile. (The activity was written by NOAO astronomer and instrument engineer R. Probst, with guidance and testing led by C. Walker and H. Ochoa in the NOAO North and South Education and Public Outreach groups, respectively.)

In mid-March, students identified features in satellite images taken first of the location in their country and then of the location in the other country. In April, the students acted as rovers, taking pictures from the ground for students in the other country based on e-mail communications.

The capstone event was a student-to-student ASTRO-Chile videoconference between NOAO North and South in Tucson and La Serena on May 12, 2006. A half of a dozen schools with a couple hundred students in Chile alone participated in the activity. About 50 of those students were in attendance for the videoconference in La Serena. There were five teachers with 26 students at the other end of the videoconference in Tucson. All but one of the five Tucson presentations were given in Spanish.

The remote sensing activity allowed students to become better acquainted with the geography and geology of their own areas, while experiencing the chance to interact directly with fellow students in another hemisphere. The students got better acquainted with the geography and geology by viewing and analyzing maps of their city from the LandSat satellite. After becoming comfortable with the images of their own city, the Tucson students analyzed a LandSat satellite image of La Serena and the students from Chile analyzed an image of Tucson. Since the top-down view from the satellite images does not always tell the whole story, Tucson students emailed students from the La Serena area and asked them to act like remote rovers and take pictures of areas of the city on which they had questions and email the pictures to Tucson. The students in Tucson meanwhile acted as remote rovers and took pictures of areas of Tucson that the Chilean students had questions on, since the Chilean students were doing a similar analysis on a map of Tucson.

The success of the activity in the Spring 2006 encouraged the remote sensing of the Earth activity to be done again in October 2006. The capstone event was a student-to-student ASTRO-Chile videoconference between NOAO North and South in Tucson and La Serena at the end of November. A couple hundred students in Chile participated in the activity over the previous months. More than 50 of those students were in attendance in La Serena. There were about that many students in attendance at the videoconference at NOAO in Tucson, with all but a couple of their five presentations given in Spanish.

The activity and the videoconferences, where the students reported their results, provided opportunities for the students to get to know students from this other culture and to have a platform to ask one another questions. The groups came together not only to exchange ideas on how we teach and learn a particular area of science, and to celebrate our diversity, our curiosity and our willingness to learn from each other about each other. The enthusiasm conveyed by the students will always be remembered.

The teacher and student guides for the remote sensing of Mars activity in both Spanish and English and the images used in the activity, as well as the powerpoint presentations made by students from Chile and Tucson at the videoconference and photographs from the videoconference, are available. There is also a powerpoint presented to the teachers that is downloadable here.


Students in Chile at work on the remote sensing of the Earth activity


Students in Tucson at work on the remote sensing of the Earth activity


Students in Chile at the videoconference on remote sensing of the Earth


Students in Tucson at the videoconference for remote sensing of the Earth


Poster on the Remote Sensing of the Earth Project

ASTRO-Chile

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Questions?

Contact the staff of ASTRO-Chile:

Connie Walker, Tucson Site Director
520-318-8535, cwalker@noao.edu

Kathie Coil, EPO Program Coordinator
520-318-8230, kcoil@noao.edu

FAX: 520-318-8451