Ashley Hall announced this week the successful landing of “The Spirit of Ashley Hall” on White Island, part of the Isles of Scilly, located near the southwest English coastline. The 5-foot unmanned ocean sailing vessel assembled by Ashley Hall sixth graders was launched April 24 near the Delaware Capes and spent 118 days crossing the Atlantic solely on wind and current propulsion.
Equipped with GPS tied into a robust tracking website portal, the MiniBoat piloted new data collection instrumentation that has set data collection records, including the longest air and sea surface water temperature dataset of any vessel deployed through the Educational Passages program, an international initiative to spread environmental literacy and foster cultural experiences.
“From interdisciplinary learning to global connection and understanding, this scientific endeavor is a testament to what Ashley Hall holds most dear,” said head of school Jill Muti. “Our girls are experiencing the thrill of conducting scientific research first-hand and seeing its implications in action.”
Educational Passages connects people of all ages and across fourteen different countries in support of its unique MiniBoat experiences. Ashley Hall students monitored a multitude of oceanic phenomena this spring and summer, including charting sensor readings and tracking temperature by position every hour. In addition to being used to visualize the layers of sea state conditions, the data will be shared with the wider scientific community to create classroom investigations as well as other research inquiries.
“The Spirit of Ashley Hall” will be passed on to The Five Islands Academy, an Isles of Scilly school, that will partner with Ashley Hall in a scientific and cultural exchange before relaunching the MiniBoat on its next adventure.
“As our transoceanic classroom, ‘The Spirit of Ashley Hall’ has been the perfect catalyst to spark our students’ natural curiosity about our world ocean and its processes,” said Ashley Hall faculty member Holly Blair. “The experience has truly been invaluable for us all, from our youngest students to the most experienced teachers. We are thrilled to be able to share it with the next community of learners who will refurbish it and add to its meaningful expeditions, and we will continue to follow this intrepid little vessel which has caused us all to dive deeper.”
Follow the journey of “The Spirit of Ashley Hall” at educationalpassages.org/boats/spiritofashleyhall.