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Progress Report: Water on Wheels Mobile

The Water on Wheels (WOW) Mobile will be ready to roll by the end of the fall! Funded by the International Paper Foundation, the Ground Water Institute (GWI) will use this innovative teaching tool to inform participants of all ages about the water cycle, the role of groundwater and other important water related facts. The WOW Mobile is a trailer that is creatively filled with interactive educational components designed to make learning fun and memorable.

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The GWI staff has feverishly worked over the last year to create an exciting portable educational space. Michelle Dry, Director of Education Outreach for the GWI, is overseeing the creation and implementation of the project. “It has been fun seeing the elements come together. We’ve learned so much throughout this process,” Dry says. “We are fortunate to have some exceptional individuals designing and building this unique learning experience.” Pictured below, representatives from the GWI, U of M Communications, Public Relations and Marketing division, Sullivan Branding, Fly by Night Carpentry and Pam Hurley meet to discuss design specifics.

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Tim Giles, owner of Fly by Night Carpentry, is constructing the contents. Dry shares, “He’s constructed the exhibit pieces to be light and mobile meaning that they can withstand the frequent starts and stops of being in a moving vehicle vs. an installation in a museum.” Pictured here (from left to right) Tim Giles, and GWI representatives - Brian Waldron, James Eason, and Scott Schoefernacker - discuss the lighting to be used in the WOW Mobile.

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Tim Giles on left, Brian Waldron in middle, Scott Schoefernacker on the right are looking over one of the interactive exhibits. This piece will eventually explain the water distribution on our planet earth. Each side will display different information about the distribution of water in and on the earth.

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Dry continues, “U of M graduate and faculty member Pam Hurley took our ideas and made them come to life in a fun, educational, durable, and safe way.” Hurley was the first student to earn the professional, two-year Master of Architecture degree at the University of Memphis. Pictured here, view the cloud mural that Hurley hand-painted.

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Additionally, the U of M Communications, Public Relations and Marketing division jumped on board and brought in the university’s advertising agency, Sullivan Branding. The agency designed the exterior wrap for the WOW Mobile and is creating the printed graphics that will appear throughout the interior.

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When thinking about the impact of the WOW Mobile, Dry says she is most excited “to meet a need in our community.” Taking students off site is a difficult process for any teacher. It includes extra costs, safety issues and a loss of learning time. Since the WOW Mobile meets participants at their location, students and teachers remain focused on learning, not on the distractions that field trips can entail.

“The WOW Mobile will be an extraordinary educational extension to GWI’s education and outreach program. We are expecting it to be in high demand by local schools,” says Dr. Brian Waldron, GWI Interim Director.

The learning activities developed for the WOW Mobile complement state mandated academic standards. Dry shares, “The exhibits supplement what teachers are teaching in their classrooms and appeal to all learning styles, especially hands-on or kinesthetic learners. Also, the information in the displays is designed to overlap, so students will move through the space and learn at their own pace and not be forced to learn in a rigid path.”

For more information about the WOW Mobile and other Ground Water Institute work, visit http://www.memphis.edu/gwi or contact Michelle Dry at mdry@memphis.edu. For more information about the International Paper Foundation, visit www.IPGiving.com.

GWI serves as a research and advisory asset to Memphis, Shelby County and the Mid-South, and was established in 1991. Its mission is to engage in applied research excellence, education, and leadership toward sustaining community ground water resources.

 

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Dr. Gladius Lewis

Dr. Gladius Lewis, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, has been elected a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

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Last Updated: 8/6/13