Blue sky and cloud cover at sea – via cover

Every year is the third Saturday in March National Quilting Day! For fun, I thought I'd write about a quilt I recently finished (my 98th quilt since I started sewing in 2006). I credit my time at OCEANDOT COMM at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON) in 2018 that set me on a path to combine science storytelling and quilting. Check out my latest data visualization – via quilt!

This quilt is part of my JOIDES Resolution Expedition 390 (South Atlantic Transect I) collection. by clicking on the tag 390 quilt, you can see all the quilts I've completed so far before and after my two months in the South Atlantic.

I served as Onboard Outreach Officer for JOIDE'S Resolution Expedition 390 (April 7 – June 7, 2022) and conducted 50 live Zoom sessions with students in grades K-16 and community groups, walking around the ship with an iPad to show the research laboratories, newly collected nuclear material and more. A question that was repeatedly asked by instructors was whether there was any data available from the expedition that students could explore and work with before and/or after they joined the ship and met with the scientists. Although the majority of data collected was not ready for dissemination and under moratorium until a future release date, there is still some data available for ships to share with teachers and classrooms to strengthen their connection and engagement with an ongoing expedition. JR Daily Operations Reports (DOR) is an example of a data source that can be accessed and shared while JOIDE'S Resolution is at sea.

Blanket pendant with shades of blue, gray and a white borderWhat started me on this quest to share data and find ways to engage classrooms beyond just Zoom connection time was my email communication with a kindergarten teacher with whom I was coordinating an upcoming ship shipment. I asked her what topics her class was currently discussing, to see if I could connect specific characteristics and examples from the ship to her curriculum. She said at that time the students would learn about clouds and recycling. I kept my focus on clouds, knowing that JR DOR had a weather chart that reported “Sky/Clouds.” Immediately I learned more about how these cloud cover measurements were recorded on the ship and what they mean. I wrote a post on the Expedition 390 blog (Blue sky and cloud cover on Expedition 390) summarized what I learned, and started daily updates in a Google Sheet embedded in the blog post with the new cloud cover measurement from the day before. I also sent a link to the teacher with the blog post URL.

During the Zoom connection with this Kindergarten class, I spent some time outside on the deck pointing my iPad at the clouds for the teacher to discuss with the students what they were seeing. In addition to the regular ship tour that I would be giving classes, I asked the second mate on the ship to join me on part of the tour to talk about his daily meteorological recordings. After the tour, the teacher told me that the students were so excited to meet him, they wanted to do cloud measurements just like the second mate. The teacher also said the school doesn't usually cover fractions at the kindergarten level, but she had a plan to make pizza with the students and cut it into eight slices, similar to the eight octa units used in Sky Cover measurements. Then she would have the students look at the clouds each day and compare their readings with the readings we recorded on the ship.

After leaving JOIDE'S ResolutionI knew I wanted to put together a data visualization that not only documented the daily Sky/Cloud measurements, but also as a shout-out to the kindergarten teacher who turned her students into mini-scientists observing the world around them, and to the Second Mate of JR Expedition 390 who took the time to explain to the kids (and to me!) his daily weather observations and to answer any questions.

Close-up of the left corner of the quilt

Quilt details

This quilt, with the title Blue sky and cloud cover, was completed on February 13, 2023. The quilt measures 33 inches wide by 50 inches high. Batik fabrics, each representing a value on the zero to eight octa scale, were purchased from The Crabby Quilter (Annapolis, MD). White/gold star background fabric and blue star binding fabric were purchased at Homesewn (Media, PA). The fabric for the clouds (3 Cats Shweshwe fabric made by Da Gama Textiles in South Africa) was purchased in Cape Town, South Africa, and was included on this quilt as a nod to the port that JR departed from and returned to for Expedition 390.

close-up of the right corner of a quilt

#Blue #sky #cloud #cover #sea #cover

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