Tag Archives: comic

A scicomm comic on Rossby waves and hands-on teaching

Last year in pre-social distancing times, Torge and I brought hands-on rotating tank experiments into his “atmosphere and ocean dynamics” class. The “dry theory to juicy reality” project was a lot of fun — the affordable DIYnamics rotating tables are great to give students hands-on experiences in small groups and to see — by running the same experiment on four rotating tables in parallel — how the same experimental setup can lead to very different realizations because of tiny differences in boundary conditions.

Instead of a classical lab report, we asked students to write a pupular science text about an experiment of their choosing. We got lots of great results (see all of them on our blog “Teaching Ocean Science“), but there is one that particularly stood out to me, and the author, Johanna Knauf, kindly agreed to me publishing it here. Enjoy!

I am super impressed with this comic, and also increadibly flattered and touched. This comic is the most meaningful feedback on my teaching and science communication I ever got and that I can possibly imagine. Thank you, Johanna!

P.S.: Curious about how we modified the project to work with social distancing? Check it out here!

Photo comics for scicomm from the central Greenland ice sheet? Yes, please!

Do you remember how I started experimenting with an app that made sketches from photos to see if reading waves might be easier from sketches than from photos? (Btw, approximately half of the answers on whether or not sketches are easier to read than pictures were along the lines of “YES!!!! DEFINITELY!!!” and the other half were like “NOOO — DON’T DO THAT TO YOUR PICTURES!!!”)

That only happened because I saw something really cool that Petra Langebroek was testing in preparation for the outreach she was planning on doing from her expedition to central Greenland, and since I thought it was so cool, I had to download an app that could do the same, and then I fell into that hole of playing with the app…

Anyway. What Petra is doing is fascinating: From her expedition to central Greenland, she reports back using the Lego figurine “EastGRIPninja” and his scientist friends to tell the story of how science is done on top of the ice sheet. For that, she takes pictures of EastGRIPninja and his friends in real locations and lets them explore, and tell stories.

For example, EastGRIPninja gets a tour of the camp:

And that’s pretty cool — it’s not too often that I get a look into one of the domes! I don’t know what I expected to see inside, but definitely not this much plywood. And probably fewer flags, too. And (spoiler alert!) would you have guessed that they have a tabletop football game in there, too?

Also super interesting: How does going to the toilet work in the middle of the Greenland ice sheet? That’s something EastGRIPninja needs to find out fairly early on, too, and again, it’s something to do with flags. So if you are curious, you should go and check it out!

Petra says that the weather is bad right now and that she doesn’t know when they’ll be able to start drilling (and thus posting interesting science content). But there are so many questions that I have that can easily be answered in bad weather, for example:

  • does EastGRIPninja get to play tablefootball and cards etc with the scientists?
  • why drill exactly where you are and not somewhere else?
  • what’s for dinner and is it something people would voluntarily eat at home when they get back?
  • who has to cook / do the dishes?
  • how many scientists are there at any one time?
  • do you work/sleep on watches like you would at sea?
  • what’s the temperature in the dome like? Cosy?

And what are your questions that EastGRIPninja could answer?

Click on the image below to read the whole story (which is being updated pretty much daily, so remember to check back to see whether your questions have been answered and what else is going on!). EastGRIPninja, Petra and their team are still there until mid July and I can’t wait to learn more about their adventures!