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Bala Cynwyd Middle School


Knights save the day during "Operation Montserrat"
Knights save the day during "Operation Montserrat"

Bala Cynwyd Middle School students recently participated in Operation Montserrat - a live video conference and collaborative learning project made possible through a partnership with the Challenger Learning Center at Wheeling Jesuit University, providing students with an opportunity to simulate an emergency response mission on the island of Montserrat.

Sixth graders spent weeks in preparation for this activity learning about volcanoes and plate tectonics, eruption warning signs, and the effects on the lithosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. The students also learned how to interpret hurricane data and how to track hurricanes before investigating possible emergency evacuation plans for the island given the population, road systems, threats of potential coastal flooding, volcanic activity and other factors.

The recent culminating activity was a live crisis simulation where students connected via teleconference to the Mission Control Center at Wheeling Jesuit University as an impending hurricane and volcanic eruption threatened the island of Montserrat.

The student teams - broken down by hurricane, volcano, communication, and evacuation units - worked to save the people of Montserrat by crunching real-time data and tracking both hurricane and volcanic activity as the Challenger's Mission Control flight director broadcasted data and interacted with students via video, audio and chat windows with each team.