The heart of our students' educational experience on board the Half Moon lies in the various scientific topics they study in the field as we progress down the Hudson River. The educational crew designs these studies to enable students to observe, measure, and analyze natural patterns in the world around them, just as was required of Henry Hudson's crew in 1609. We stick to basic methods of gathering data, using devices that help the student gain insight about the workings of the world (as opposed to just reading an LED from a digital probe). Students also use primary source documents from the 17th century as well as collecting their own source data to generate their own primary source documents.
We continue to explore new avenues of teaching on the Half Moon. On this Voyage of Discovery, the student crew members work in two-person teams. Each pair of students combines their collaborative research for a final presentation on Day Six, including an oral report and written graphs.
The students are not working in isolation, however. Each student is trained in performing the techniques of every experiment, not only to broaden their own perspective but to lend their aid to any other crew members who need additional hands for their work. Not only is this cooperation reflective of how Hudson's crew would have worked on the Halve Maen, it also mirrors how modern scientific study is typically conducted today.
We'll present the students' work in three stages:
Stage One: Orientation. Early on, each team of students selects a specific field of topics of study. On this Voyage of Discovery, the six primary research topics are celestial tracking, statistical analysis, diurnal air & water temperatures, salinity, current speed and direction, and height of tide. The students then familiarize themselves with their instruments.
Stage Two: Data Collection. The students collect data during the voyage, which includes a full 24-hour layover at the Kill Van Kull on Staten Island, allowing the students to focus on an intensive period of data gathering and analysis.
Stage Three: Presentation. On their last night on board the Half Moon, our student crews culminate their educational experience by delivering team-based reports on the scientific topics they've studied during their Voyage of Discovery.