THOMASVILLE – AP Thomas County Central High School environmental science students became involved in a statewide environmental research program by collecting data with new sensory equipment.
The equipment was purchased in June 2021 from Pocket Lab, an education science company. Dr. Scott Sweeting, science education coordinator for the Thomas County School System, said it was shortly after receiving the equipment that the school partnered with Georgia Tech and Spelman College and began participating in the Urban Heat Island project, a study devoted to the effects of increased heat in urban areas.
“They’re trying to map the areas that are trapping heat and their impact on the people living there,” said Jason Barr, chief digital content officer at Pocket Labs.
Barr visited Dr. Richard Faucett’s AP Environmental Science class last week to show them the ropes of using the new equipment and a presentation on how to accurately collect the collected data. Barr recorded the students during the visit.
Sweeting said participating in the project allowed students to see the impacts of scientific research in a real-world way, which made it much more relevant to them.
“The relevance of science to them has multiplied,” Dr Sweeting said.
Voyagers, one of the types of equipment used, are handheld data collection devices that can measure a wide variety of things, with Dr Faucett demonstrating measurement of acceleration, dew point, magnetic fields and local temperature.
The students used the Voyagers and other equipment provided to take temperature readings on the school lawn and parking lot. According to Faucett, the equipment is capable of wirelessly uploading collected data to other devices.
According to Dr. Sweeting, this collection of local temperature data will be an integral part of the AP Environment Science classroom curriculum in the future, noting that the collected data will be sent to faculty and researchers at Georgia Tech and Spelman College.
Barr said the Voyagers and other gear produced by Pocket Labs should empower educators and students, citing science as a powerful tool that can be used by anyone to aid research efforts.
“Anyone can contribute to science,” Barr said.
On Feb. 25, Barr’s footage from his visit will be used at the Science is Cool virtual conference, alongside interviews with Dr. Faucett and Dr. Sweeting. The conference is dedicated to bringing science educators together and Dr. Sweeting will be present as a panelist for one of the sessions dedicated to discussing STEM education in Georgia.
Payton Fletcher can be reached at 229-226-2400, ext. 1826