Friday, April 12, 2013

Eighth graders measure and analyze the spectral reflection pattern of live and dead plant leaves

Fifty-seven, eighth grade students at Laramie Junior High School learned how earth surface objects interact in the visible and invisible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum (light) and measured and analyzed spectral properties of live and dead plant leaves.

Students in the first batch are
collecting spectral data (Apr 2, 2013)
Describing the value of this hands-on exercise, Mr. Ron Whitman, eighth grade physical sciences teacher, said, “[M]y approach to teaching science has always been having the students experience the practical applications of science. Ramesh Sivanpillai from the University of Wyoming in Laramie has been presenting information about remote sensing to my classes for several years.  My 8th grade physical science class is an introductory class for physics and chemistry. One of the topics discussed is electromagnetic waves. Ramesh presented information to my classes for two, 90 minutes sessions. Ramesh introduces the electromagnetic spectrum with a very informative power point presentation. Most of the two 90 minute sessions the students get to use … spectrometers to measure and eventually calculate the percent reflectance of particular wavelengths emitted by dead vs. living deciduous leaves and dead vs. living coniferous needles. This year the students got to plot their data on a computer spreadsheet and have the program calculate and graph the data. Wow! This was awesome. Students compared their own data and other student’s data and discussed what was similar, different and reasons for error. In my assessment of the two 90 minute sessions my students continue to be excited about remote sensing and the tools, both simple and complex, that are able to detect different frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum.”

Students in one of the three classes are entering their data in spreadsheet
to calculate and graph reflectance values of live and dead leaves (Apr 10, 2013)
Students’ feedback highlighted different aspects of this lecture and hands-on exercise (NOTE: for privacy, students are identified by their initials):

Verifying that all numbers were entered correctly
(Class period 3: Apr 10, 2013)
This experiment helped to understand chapter 6 by showing how the colors change…” - DG
This helped me understand color more. The effects of man can affect earth so much.” – CM
It helped me understand that not all light is visible to us as humans. It helped me understand that nothing has a true color it is just what color we see it in, how our eyes work.” - HS
This hands-on exercise helped me understand colors and the interaction of radiation and it was fun.”- NM
This exercise taught me that different colors reflect different amounts of light, and dead and live deciduous and coniferous trees do too.” – MS
This hands-on exercise helped me to understand the interaction of electromagnetic radiation better because we had the chance to look at real results and also examples. I learned a lot.” – LC
This activity helped me to understand how things may differ in a way we may not be able to understand at first glance. I also learned how to use Excel.” – BC
“…I learned about all the actual colors of things like leaves and flowers. This experiment was really enjoyable.” – IW
This helped because after doing the hands-on activities and seeing them in the graph compared to everyone else, I saw and understood how light reflects and how the basics of remote sensing works.” – TN
This hands-on exercise helped me to understand the interaction of electromagnetic radiation by showing me that it is used in everyday life by a lot of different careers. It was interested and showed me science is more than formulas.” – AM
This event was conducted on April 2, 3, 9 and 10 as part of AmericaView’s Earth Observation Day activities aimed at introducing teachers and students to remote sensing science and applications.