Centerville 8th Graders get Creative with Riverside Research e-Texts

On 2 November 2012, Dr. Andrew Shepherd and Mr. Michael Lovingshimer of Riverside Research’s Education and Training Directorate had the pleasure of attending Tower Heights Middle School in Centerville, Ohio, as special guests in Mrs. Lynn Bartlett’s 8th grade class. This kind of arrangement has become commonplace over the past year with Dr. Shepherd and Mr. Lovingshimer frequently visiting Dayton-area schools to promote various Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs; however, this particular presentation was different. It was the students who did the instructing while the special guest professionals sat back in amazement – a complete role reversal from the norm.

Leading the presentation at Tower Heights Middle School were the six students shown above: (L to R) Grace Meininger, Kay Tompkins, Craig Jasin, Jesse Melville, Casey Graff, and Lauren Gaither.

As a participating teacher in Riverside Research’s electronic textbook (e-Text) pilot program currently underway throughout the Dayton region, Mrs. Bartlett challenged her students to select one chapter from the collegiate-level e-Text, Remote Sensing: A View Through Mechanical Eyes, as the basis for a class project on remote sensing.

“I was thoroughly impressed with our students’ self-driven investigation of remote sensing using the Riverside Research e-Text,” said Mrs. Bartlett. “The students showed a high degree of understanding and were able to articulate their learning through a variety of innovative media presentations. The detailed instructional materials gave students the necessary background information to learn the material and each chapter provided interactive opportunities for the students to apply their learning. With its ease of navigation and colorful layout, the Remote Sensing e-Text enabled our students to learn complex science material independently.”

Jesse focused his project on chapter three, Platforms: Aircraft, creatively integrating an iPod with a remote control airplane to collect video data as he flew over a local park. During his presentation, Jesse correctly narrated the details related to the data collection, noting changes in the sensor field-of-view and resolution.

Lauren, Grace, and Casey also selected chapter three. Their presentation incorporated a large diorama named “Sensorville” that showcased several scenarios for applying airborne remote sensing. Using an iPod camera to “overfly” the diorama by hand, the trio correctly explained applicable remote sensing terminology as they narrated the video.

Kay and Craig selected chapter five, Spectral Imaging, as the basis for their project, correctly applying spectral concepts to real-world use cases. Their presentation concluded with a demonstration using an ultraviolet light to simulate how various minerals could be identified. 

“It was amazing to see 8th grade students produce this level and quality of work,” said Dr. Shepherd. “I was gratified to see the e-Text used in such innovative ways and the genuine excitement and interest in remote sensing displayed by the students.” Mr. Lovingshimer was equally impressed, adding: “we can’t wait to see how the students at the other piloting schools use the e-Texts!”