Monday, March 31, 2014

Eighth graders associate spectral reflectance patterns with plant form, health status

Eighth grade students at Laramie Junior High School learned to measure the spectral reflectance of leaves and analyze differences based on their types (conifers vs. deciduous) and health status (live vs. dying) during presentations by Ramesh Sivanpillai, principal investigator for WyomingView. The more than 75 students also learned how sensors in remote sensing satellites collect similar data about Earth surface features.

Students providing their feedback on remote sensing concepts and the hands-on activity that aimed at comparing spectral reflectance values of live vs. dead leaves from conifer and deciduous trees.

Ron Whitman, physical sciences teacher at the school, invited Sivanpillai to four sections of his eight grade classes to highlight remote sensing science and applications. “Ramesh introduced the electromagnetic spectrum with a very informative power point presentation during class period[s,]” he said. Whitman trained students to collect spectral data of the leaves, enter them in spreadsheet, and analyze them. This year’s activities spanned four class periods. “I was able to teach, on my own, the aspects of remote sensing, collection of data, displaying data and interpreting research data as initially taught by Ramesh,” he said.

Whitman noted the students continue to be excited about remote sensing and simple and complex tools. “Students compared their own data and other students’ data and discussed what was similar, different, and reasons for error,” he said. “Ramesh came back and helped students interpret their data and compare to other practical research by colleges and college students.”

WyView coordinator discuses phenology and leaf color changes in aspen trees

Student feedback highlighted different aspects of this lecture and hands-on exercise. Students are identified by initials for privacy purposes.

"I learned that the spectral reflectance values of things make a big difference in the world." KD

"I learned that the colors that you can see are based on what colors are reflected of of the object." KW

"I have learned that plant give off infrared radiation waves. They help us tell if the plant is healthy." DR

"I learned how to graph on the excel and I learned how to use a spectrometer" MH

"I also learned how satellites check out the environment from space from all around the world ... we learned how to plot and compare reflectance values." SH

"In the hands on activity I learned how to calculate the percent of reflectance of colors." CH

"I learned that live leaves reflect more than dead leaves." NT

"We also learned how to use Microsoft Excel and how it can graph scientific data." JW

"... a live leaf absorbs more of every other color but reflects green the most." SH

"I can definitely say that I learned new information about electromagnetic radiation and how it affects the colors that are visible for different species." KW

This event was conducted on March 31, April 1, 2, 8, 9 and May 19 as part of AmericaView’s Earth Observation Day activities aimed at introducing remote sensing science and applications to K-12 students and teachers.