The goal of this project is to utilize digital arts to spark a passion for marine science in low-income elementary students in Los Angeles, as well as introduce technology that the students may not be exposed to otherwise. More specifically, marine related activities will be brought into the classrooms in the form of 2D animation and 3D printing. Gray whale migratory patterns will be taught with 3D printed gray whale characters while dive sequencing will be discussed through animated videos. Ultimately our hope is to transform the mysterious 40 ton mammals into individuals with names and personalities. Through this, there will be a better understanding of the marine species as a whole and more importantly, will build a connection to the mammals as individuals.
This project will bring marine education to a community of K-5 low-income students, through 2D animation and 3D printing. WonderKids, through the University of Southern California (USC), is a program established to bring Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) related lessons to a total of 100 students per semester in the local elementary schools, taught by undergraduate and graduate students. WonderKids will therefore bring the project curriculum into the classrooms. Ultimately this project will be a compilation of lesson plans and documentation of the classrooms on a website, to be accessed by the students as well as provide the teachers with a step by step process for creating the digital arts projects.
This project stems from research on gray whales conducted by Carrie Newell as well as a minor thesis, therefore beyond making the website publicly accessible, we hope to share the project with involved networks to increase visibility and impact. The website will be posted on Carrie Newell’s whale watching website, USC’s Joint Educational Project (JEP), working with 75 classrooms, will also have access to the curriculum for future purposes and the project will be shared with the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA), expanding the impact to 750 educators around the country and to the students those teachers impact.