RENCI at ECU gives kids lesson in geography

Students and teachers from Belvoir Elementary School in Greenville became some of the first people to learn about weather and geography using RENCI at East Carolina University’s new state-of- the-art high resolution visualization wall. More than 40 students and their teachers attended a program on Oct. 30 that was put together by Theodore “Teddy” Allen, a geography graduate student and RENCI at ECU research assistant, and Sue Chapman, administrative support specialist for the University Honors, ECU Scholars, and Undergraduate Research Programs.

The students participated in a variety of activities, including the visualization wall demonstration. They viewed satellite animations of hurricanes and Google Earth fly-bys, interacted with NASA’s World Wind, a geospatial visualization platform, and used 3D glasses to see stereoscopic animations. The program also featured a hands-on introduction to meteorological instrumentation, during which the students used hand-held instruments to measure temperature and wind speed at various locations.

“The two sessions, all within a one hour time span, provided a dynamic setting with various interactive programs for the students to enjoy,” said Allen. “We in the geography department and at RENCI at ECU felt that this was a great opportunity to introduce the Belvoir students to our geography department. They all assured me that they would strive to become future geographers at ECU.”

Michael Bassman, assistant vice chancellor and director of the University Honors Program, EC Scholars and Undergraduate Research, noted that many of the students are part of the Latino migrant community and that this was their first chance to see the the ECU campus. Allen said the event marked the beginning of a relationship between RENCI and Belvoir Elementary.

“I know that Belvoir and ECU Scholars are always looking for new opportunities to introduce exciting topics to the students,” he said.