Environmental Science 2005
Shodor > SUCCEED > Workshops > Archive > Environmental Science 2005

Today's class started with the students telling the class what they wanted to be when they grow up. Their choices included doctors, electrical engineers, and graphic designers. Then they tried to find their homes on Terraserver. Also the students viewed a field, both as a photo and topographic map. They used the topographical map to find out where the water goes in the field. The students became familiar with Microsoft Excel by making a spreadsheet of a topographical map, and using the maximum and minimum features to calculate the slope of the field. Then they used a 3-D surface chart to view the slope of the field.

Next the students learned that to be a computational scientist, they needed to be good at science, mathematics, and computers. Also, Bob2 spoke to them about the apprenticeship program at Shodor and how they could get involved.

The students then shifted back to the topographical map of the field; they began using a Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model to see how much water is lost from the field annually. ( students then tried, using the model, to find which type of saleable crop they could "plant", while losing the least soil. The class found that the crop with the least run-off and soil loss was grass, but since grass cannot be sold, the crop with least run-off and soil loss, but that could be sold, was Corn mixed with Soybeans, without being tilled. However, all of the edible crops led to lots of soil loss and runoff.

The students learned about how the soil types, and more specifically that Durham soil is mostly sand and clay, with very little organic matter. Despite learning all about farming techniques, none of the students were convinced to become farmers.