Student scientist Amalia determines buoyancy


Imagine if this was you, out on a ship doing oceanographic research for the summer!

That is what student scientist Amalia is doing. Floaters are used to counter the weight of instruments lowered to the ocean floor. In this picture Amalia measures the floaters to determine the buoyancy of different size floaters. My STEM club students at my school will use similar floaters for their ROV.




Here is a picture of the control room for the remotely operated vehicle, called JASON, that will be used to access the instruments already on the ocean floor.




hi Mrs. Kane, since you

hi Mrs. Kane, since you mentioned students being aboard, did you get to teach them anything new?
-Katie Krasniewski

Ah, good question. They were

Ah, good question. They were students learning things I had not even considered! It was a definite "student teaching teacher" time. Not bad in my eyes! I loved it!!

It seems like you are really

It seems like you are really enjoying your time Mrs. Kane! Out of curiosity, what has been the most interesting thing you have seen or discovered so far?

Sara Beth Co

What is most interesting for

What is most interesting for me is to listen to the scientists talk about their research and hear them solve problems. Beats TV!! I like to find out what they are discovering and I really like it when they take the time to explain things. It is so much fun to learn. I wish you all could be hear. It make me want to go back to college and study under them. I have seen JASON work and I've been in the JASON control room. That is unreal!! Most people don't even know what JASON is. they ought to google it! Thanks for writing.

Keyanna Jo.

Hi Mrs. Kane, I was wondering what it is that you help with on the ship? I'm not completely sure if you are just looking for data or if you are helping with other things on the ship.

I do not help with many

I do not help with many things on the ship. I feel I little bad about that because on a ship, everyone has a very important job to do or the ship doesn't work well. My job is to work with and observe the scientists so that I can learn about them, their work, and bring that knowledge to students. I have two other projects I am working on. I also have a job in the room where the pilots, navigators, engineers, technicians maneuver the robot JASON way down below. My job is to burn DVD's of the cameras so that all the scientists will have the event well documented. I work on 4 hour shifts. Thanks for writing!

Laura Earl

Hi Mrs. Kane! I'm Laura Earl and I'll be taking your honors physics course this coming school year. I think it would be unbelievable to spend most of the summer on a ship day and night. Are you always working on collecting data and making observations or do you also have some down time to enjoy the scenery and relax with your friends aboard the ship? What does a typical day look like for you?

Hi Laura, It is so good to

Hi Laura, It is so good to get your comment. Your question makes me smile because I’m not sure there is a typical day. The 24 hours seem to blend into each other. For example, some days I work in the ROV control center from 4 am to 8 am , then work on my projects, have meetings, watch instruments get launched or retrieved, talk with scientists. There is time for relaxation too. There is a small exercise room and movie room. There is a library and just enjoying some quiet time out on deck. When I get excited about a project it is hard to sleep. Thanks for writing Laura

From Mary Gi: Hi Mrs. Kane!

From Mary Gi:
Hi Mrs. Kane! I have been floating around your blog for a while and when I looked at this post and wondered: How do you measure the floaters? I did not look at the other comments so I am sorry if this has already been answered!

Amalia was calculating the

Amalia was calculating the buoyancy by measuring the circumference and then calculating buoyancy in salt water. There is much training to do to become a JASON pilot. But, I get to watch with much admiration!! Maybe I’ll be to sit in the pilot’s chair for fun and get a picture taken. It is so awesome to be in that Control room.

Margin of error

Hi Mrs. Kane,
My name is Beatrice Th, and I'm going to be in your Honors Physics class the first semester. I was wondering, what margin of error do you leave for the buoyancy of the floaters? Also, will you ever get to do the actual controlling of JASON, or will you just be helping with the gathering of the information?

Ah, you are thinking!! The

Ah, you are thinking!! The scientists have to calculate very carefully and then know how much variables can change and have the floaters still buoy the load. Each margin of error would depend on the circumstances I believe. I don’t think I will get to control JASON. But I get to stand behind the pilot in the control room and watch. That is pretty exciting!!

Cassidy Cr

Mrs. Kane,

For the STEM club's ROV how much will your expedition with JASON be an influence? Will you collect similar data with both ROVS? Will you modify STEM's ROV after JASON or will you encourage your girls to bulid their ROV completely differently from JASON's format? Also will you learn from JASON's mechanical successes and failures and apply them to STEM club's ROV?

Hi Cassidy, Glad you asked

Hi Cassidy, Glad you asked; I have been pondering those questions too. I think this experience will influence the STEM club work very much. Some of the data we collect will be related, I hope to collect depth, temperature, pressure, sediment and water samples. However it will be on a much different scale. I hope to help to get some good ideas for making our ROV do more things. The girls will have to make it work and collect data. After talking with some of the scientists, engineers and JASON experts, I have learned that there are always things that get changes for the next experiment based on things that didn't do so well the first time around. I also have tried several things that either didn't work or ended up using a more high tech instrument. We are now "mustering" for a boat drill!! Thanks for the comment!


Hello Mrs. Kane,
My name is Megan Mc. and I will be in your Honors Physics class next school year. When it comes to measuring the weight of the Floaters, how exact must the measurements be? If the Floaters weigh too much, will the extra weight damage the instruments?

Hi Megan. Those are good

Hi Megan. Those are good questions. The floaters are used to make an object (instrument) buoyant, kind of like a life preserver. With floaters scientists can control the tendency of an object to sink or float. They want their objects to sink when when they send them down so they add metal "sinkers." When they want to bring the object up they can disconnect and drop the sinkers so that the object is more buoyant now and floats. They have to calculate the object's weight and then add just the right amount of weights and floaters to do make the object behave just like they want it too. Also, by making it slightly buoyant, if there are problems, the object will naturally float up. It is pretty hard doing all this from a TV screen on the surface. I don't know how accurately the measurements have to be. It is a good question. Try measuring the volume of a tissue box with inches and then with cm. Then convert the inches to metric and tell me how close the measurements were. When measuring objects, how much calculation one does with the numbers can influence how precise the original numbers must be. As far as your 3rd question, the floaters are designed to be more of a floater than a sinker. They will only damage the instruments if they come loose and bump into the instruments


Hi Mrs. Kane,
My name is Megan Mc. and I will be in your Honors Physics class first semester. As I
was surfing the ship's site I came across a lot of information about JASON. It amazes me
what technology we can now come up with! I understand that the JASON will be going on an
expedition soon and I was wondering what type of data the JASON will be collecting. Also,
will you be apart of the JASON's operating crew?

Hi Megan, Yes, I get to help

Hi Megan, Yes, I get to help in the control room when JASON is deployed! JASON is a small (relative) ROV which will be launched from this ship probably sometime tomorrow. My shift is 4 AM to 8 AM!! So, I'll set my alarm for 2:30 am. JASON will be using it's arms to twist some valves to open up some pathways for collecting data. I will know and understand more tomorrow. Stay tuned!! Thanks for all your comments, Mrs. Kane

Hi Mrs. Kane! I was wondering

Hi Mrs. Kane!

I was wondering what you need to do beforehand in order to prepare to drop the floaters and determine the buoyancy!
I hope everything is going well :)

Katie Mc

Hi Katie, We either calculate

Hi Katie, We either calculate the buoyancy of a floater based on the volume of the floater or use the given value from the company who made the floater. From there we determine how many floaters are needed based on the weight of the object. See the reply to Megan's question. For the other question, there is very very much to do. more later,
Thanks for writing, Mrs. Kane