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 up the Hudson River. The educational crew designs these studies to enable students to observe, measure, and analyze natural patterns in the world around them. 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 four-person teams. Each team of students collaborates to collect data and analyze their research for a final presentation on Day Four, including an oral report and written graphs.
The students are not working in isolation, however. Every 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 in 1609, 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 topic of study. On this Voyage of Discovery, the research topics include celestial tracking and two different aspects of mechanical advantage; one team is studying the role of force, the other distance. The students then familiarize themselves with their instruments.
Stage Two: Data Collection. The students collect data during the voyage, which includes brief layovers off Kingston and at Athens Channel, allowing the students to focus on gathering and analyzing their data.
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.