Argo in Schools
Argo wants to showcase outreach done in schools. Students are excited to hear
about Argo floats and their enthusiasm can be seen in the different features below.
To submit a piece of work from a student and a description of the outreach, contact Megan Scanderbeg at
On Saturday March 26th, a workshop was held by at Tohoku University, Sendai.
The workshop had the title "Measuring the Ocean - Ocean observations and our life" and was sponsored by the Graduate School of Science and the International Research Institute for Disaster
Science, both at Tohoku University.
The event took place on one day only in the Aoba Science Hall at Tohoku University.
Presentations included four talks:
- 1) Robots measuring the world ocean - Howard Freeland, Argo Director
- 2) Ocean and climate/weather - ocean and our life - Tatsuo Nakamura, JMA
- 3) Gifts from the Ocean - Ocean ecosystems - Takeshi Okunishi - Tohoku Natl. Fisheries Res. Inst.
- 4) Demonstration of Argo Web Sites - Shigeki Hosoda, JAMSTEC.
The audience was about 50 people. The event had been advertised through the local school boards, local newspapers
and distributed posters. The audience was what one could call "eclectic", with an age range of roughly 7 to 70. There were
10 teachers interested in using Argo for teaching purposes. There were
students of elementary school age, secondary school age and university students. Further there were random people off
the streets in Sendai who were just keen to pursue their interest in the ocean.
Read the full report by Toshio Suga and Howard Freeland in the newsletter article.
Takeshi Okunishi presenting:
The first question from the audience:
Students exploring Argo floats projected onto a Gakken World Eye. Also visible are two APEX floats, and two Cartesian divers:
Revelle College, which is one of the undergraduate colleges with UC San Diego, runs an Honors Seminar each
quarter for high achievers among Revelle Freshmen. The theme for fall quarter 2015 was "Science and Society",
with different guest presenters each week. In the final week (December 1), Sarah Gille brought along the
Scripps demonstration version of a SOLO-II float to talk about the ocean, climate, and how we measure temperature
changes in the ocean.
Carol Brieseman regularly discusses Argo floats in her classroom and wrote an
article in New Zealand Science Teacher
about how to incorporate science related to Argo in the classroom. Here is a picture
of a student making a cartesian diver to explore buoyancy of floats. There is also a
diagram of an Argo float with ice-detection software.
Here is an exerpt from the article:
Argo floats are a very cool technology that measures temperature and salinity in our oceans. We need this information to help us with climate, weather, and ocean research.
Argo floats are also a fabulous way to engage our budding scientists with the Nature of Science in the classroom through investigating, gathering real-time data, relating concepts of buoyancy and circuits with simple science experiments and learning more about how Argo floats work.
Argos are like underwater robots. There are over 3800 of them in our oceans! They float at a depth of 1000m (1km) for 9 days, then sink down to a depth of 2000m (2km) on the 10th day before they come up to the surface. On its way up, an Argo float measures temperature and salinity through the water column. Once it's on the surface, it transmits that data to a satellite and then repeats the process, sinks back down to 1000m, spends another 9 days drifting around, following the ocean current.
Within its YouthMobile Initiative, in 2015 UNESCO supported the organization of a YouthMobile Ocean App
Competition between schools in the city of Oulu in Finland. Argo data and on-line resources were used by
the competition to encourage students to interact with mobile App technologies and environmental sciences.
The winning App, called "Aaro's Adventure" was conceptualized and designed by 17-year-old students from the
Laanila High School, Oulu. The application concept, which was not fully implemented, in view of its complexity,
aims at sensitizing people on the fragility and preservation of Oceans. It consists of five different mini
games in which the data from the world oceans' Argo buoys, reporting on the salt levels, temperatures and water
pressures, are combined with other data sources in an attempt to stimulate the user in interactive activities,
such as boat-fishing or garbage collection. With the help of this mobile app, students hope that "the spreading
of information on the condition of the world oceans will be both informative and fun". Working at the design
of this App, they said, "unites information technology, game design and open data resources for a more
sustainable future on our planet".
The school competition was organized by the Arctic City of Oulu, in cooperation with the Finnish
Meteorological Institute, to draw national and international attention to the unique sea area of the
Baltic and the Arctic areas covered by sea and ice as climate change has a major impact on the Arctic region.
The City of Oulu has challenged the six largest cities in Finland through shared development strategy (6Aika)
to combine open data, marine ecosystems and sustainability.
UNESCO's YouthMobile Initiative aims at engaging young women and men to develop mobile apps and address
issues linked to sustainable development, especially those related to poverty reduction, climate change
and youth unemployment. http://en.unesco.org/youthmobile
Dr. Nathalie Zilberman visited a French high school class
in Grossmont, CA during September 2015.
Here is where Grossmont is located:
Dr. Zilberman spoke to the French class about Argo floats and brought one in to demonstarte how
a SOLO-II float worked. Here is a picture she took of the class with students holding the float.
The first submission is a piece of artwork Howard Freeland received from a student after he
had the opportunity to talk to a group of "home-school" children in Canada during an event
called Tech Week organized by a home-school parent. Howard has worked with these children before, many live
in remote areas without access to schools. Eliana Snell is 12 years old and loved the Argo robots in the
ocean, however, she was also worried about the floats being attacked by Orca whales. She sent the picture
below to illustrate her concerns and has given permission for her picture to be reproduced.