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Dilworth students participate in Mission Antarctica


dri-7160255-9676650DRI NEWS RELEASE

Students at Dilworth STEM Academy join a team of scientists in Antarctica as they study the molecular biology, and evolution of microscopic organisms. Currently working at Palmer Station, Antarctica, Joseph Grzymski and his colleagues are investigating how Antarctic marine phytoplankton adapt during the transition from a cold dark winter to a warmer, brighter spring. The work has implications for understanding impacts of climate change and the ecology and evolution of organisms in the Southern Ocean. As part of the project mission Grzymski is interacting with middle school students from Sparks. The Mission Antarctica website received 7,500 page views since its launch in August.

“Dr. Joe as the students call him, has been talking, e-mailing and tweeting with the students, getting them engaged in science and critical thinking at our school,” said Geraldine Lemus-Yip, Dilworth science instructor and department chair, “The students are really working hard. They’re excited about this, and they’re spending time outside of school learning about Antarctica.”

One of those students is 7th grader David Lee. Lee correctly solved the question that was posted on the Mission Antarctica website. Scientists asked the students to calculate how many gallons of seawater are in 625 meters cubed- an amount they had filtered one day while out in the field.

“I first figured out the conversion and from there it was basic math,” Lee said.

And for correctly answering the question, David got to name the boat that the researchers use to collect samples.

“I named it the Excalibur, since Discovery has been used a lot. I wanted to go with something that symbolized a great triumph and because the scientists in Antarctica use the boat to discover new things, the Excalibur just made sense.”

Lee is also a part of the Excalibur academic team at Dilworth. Students are divided into academic teams; the name for his team is based on the school’s mascot, the knights.

During the course of the school year the students are emailing questions, posting tweets and following the Mission Antarctica app on their i-pads that were donated by DRI. This Friday, Oct. 14 the students will get to see and talk with Grzymski and his colleagues during an uplink from Palmer Station.

School Assembly Details:

11:30 a.m.

Students from Dilworth STEM Academy

Students will ask questions and receive a lesson and tour from the scientists

Grzymski Background

Dr. Grzymski is a microbiologist and computational biologist who joined DRI in 2004 and studies microbes that live in the Antarctic, making trips in 2006, 2004, 2001 and 2000. Grzymski is principal investigator on a three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study signal transduction and adaptation in Antarctic microbes. The principal activities supported by NSF in Antarctica are scientific research, education and outreach efforts directly related to that research, and the operational support of that research.

Dilworth Academy Background

Dilworth has 598 students (7th-8th grade) and is a Title I school with 86% of the students receiving free and reduced lunch. They did not achieve their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) last year. They recently became a SIG school (School Improvement Grant from the Federal Government). This grant requires they become an academy of their choice, so they chose to become a STEM Academy. To help meet this new goal DRI became the Academy’s Partner in Education.

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