Get WET at The New England Aquarium: Blog, Day 3

Welcome to the NEOSEC project Get WET in New England: Ocean Literacy Through Watershed Education and Training

Several NEOSEC members are taking part in this collaborative project, including New England Aquarium. Program participants are keeping a blog of their activities during the workshop – follow along!

Day 3 – July 17th

Day 3 NEAq 1
The group records data on ground temp., water quality and core samples

Our third and final day was split between the Belle Isle Salt Marsh and the Aquarium’s Ocean Center Learning Lab.  As soon as the teachers arrived, we gathered our equipment and took a 15 minute T ride to the salt marsh.  Located just a short walk from the Suffolk Downs T station on the Blue Line, the Belle Isle Salt Marsh is a great place to observe another area ecosystem.  After a couple hours of exploring and taking some data, we headed back to the classroom to compare what we had found on the dock (day 1), in the tidepool (day 2) and the salt marsh.  We finished the day with some open discussion about their final projects.  Here are some more reflections of the day by the participants.

James Britton – 7th grade in Braintree, MA “This fall will be my first field trip with middle school students, so I am sure there will be many challenges, some of which I can foresee and many that I won’t.  I would imagine that proper care of equipment would be a concern, so I would ask that chaperones or any support staff present help me in making sure that nothing gets broken and that all materials/equipment are accounted for.  I would also expect that the proper handling of organisms by students would also present a challenge, including making sure that they are returned to the proper intertidal zone.  To overcome this, I would have an in-class demonstration of how to handle the animals and go over where they belong, so that they kids have a sense and a comfort level before they arrive in the field.”

Day 3 NEAq 2
Sarah and Margaret discuss water pH

Joanne Harrington – 8th grade in Cape Cod, MA “As things appear now, I would like to have students visit the Plum Island/Parker River Refuge to explore topics related to the grade 8 curriculum.  In grade 8, current topics that could easily be implemented in a field experience include weather/climate and chemistry/properties of matter.  Since MCAS is given in the 8th grade I would also like to review grades 6 and 7 curriculum topics that address concepts related to erosion, deposition, the food web, and the flora and fauna of the coastal environment as part of the field experience.  I envision an in-depth chemistry lesson that addresses the health of the marsh and coastal areas using tests such as dissolved oxygen, pH levels, nitrate and nitrite levels, as well as salinity within the classroom prior to the field experience.  For example, I would like to have students compare water samples from a variety of locations leading them to discuss point-source and non-point source pollutants that may affect ponds, lakes, rivers and estuaries.“

Day 3 NEAq 3
The group heads in from the salt marsh

Joanie Kadaras – 8th grade in Chelmsford, MA “I am not a biology teacher, so I would like to have someone come to our school and connect why we, living along the middle part of the watershed, should be good stewards of our section or else life would be affected at the mouth?  I want the students to understand the connection between all parts of the watershed.  I doubt my students realize how important the mouth of the river is to ocean life.  They have heard of estuaries but I would like them to realize that the water they are seeing and testing will be in the estuaries and needs to be healthy for x, y, and z life at the mouth of the Merrimack.”

We really enjoyed working with all the teachers and can’t wait to see them in the fall!

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