Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day: Guest Blogger Sally M. Walker

By Elizabeth Dingmann, Publicist, in the absence of the world-travelling Andrew Karre

Sally M. Walker (pictured at right on an archaeological site where she researched her book Written in Bone) is the author of many books, including the Sibert Medal-winning Secrets of a Civil War Submarine. Her research for the forthcoming Frozen Secrets (coming Fall 2010) brought her into contact with explorer and science teacher Robin Ellwood, whose experiences in Antarctica are featured in the book. In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, Sally gives us a sneak peek at Robin's accomplishments in the field as well as the classroom.

Robin Ellwood is a junior high science teacher in Rye, New Hampshire. She is a certified master diver whose skills have taken her on many adventures, including four scientific expeditions to Antarctica, where she has explored lake ecosystems. During the 2008-2009 field season, Robin was a member of Dr. Peter Doran’s team. The goal of the expedition was to explore Lake Bonney, one of Antarctica’s surface lakes, with ENDURANCE, a remotely operated underwater robot.

During this particular season, Robin brought to Antarctica a camera-equipped robot built by several of her 8th grade students. Nicknamed Scuba DOOBA Doo, the little robot successfully navigated the water in McMurdo Sound and sent video of its dive back to the students in New Hampshire.

Every time she has been to Antarctica, Robin has kept an online journal that chronicles the science projects that she and others are carrying out “on ice.” Her words and her excellent photographs give readers all over the world a front row seat to many different facets of scientific exploration on Earth’s remotest continent.

Robin is a member of the PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating in the Arctic and Antarctic) program, which is part of the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States. The program, funded by the National Science Foundation, enables teachers of K-12 students to work directly with scientists in the field. By doing so, Robin definitely improves science education and encourages her students not only to think like scientists, but to understand that science is fun.

You can learn more about Robin Ellwood by reading her Antarctic journals.


Nikki Thornton said...

Liked your post. Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.

Blythe said...

Robin Ellwood is exactly what a science teacher should be: engaged in science and engaging her students. Thank you Sally, for the gift of knowing about Robin and her journals.