Professional Development with the new gundalow Piscataqua!

Gundalow Company is offering a free professional development workshop this summer aboard its new gundalow. Fifth- and sixth-grade teachers* will learn to use hands-on science activities, field experiences and local scientific data to teach about marine life, water quality and human impact on the local environment. All activities will be based in Portsmouth, NH over several days: August 16 and 17 for classroom and field work; a half-day in September for a free boat-based field trip for your class; and a follow-up evening session in October.

Registration now open with limited space. Please e-mail for registration and information.
*While this is geared toward fifth and sixth grade teachers, registration will be extended to other grades as space allows.

This workshop is offered at no cost to teachers thanks to funding through NOAA’s Bay Watershed Education and Training Program – which is designed to provide “meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEE)”. The nonprofit Gundalow Company is one of four organizations working together on NEOSEC’s “Get WET in New England”.

Get WET Update

Get WET in New England: Ocean Literacy Through Watershed Education and Training is a sponsored project of NEOSEC. In the Get WET program, New England Aquarium leads NEOSEC institutional members to provide professional development that is grounded in Ocean Literacy and that addresses the goals of the NOAA Education Plan.  For more information on Get WET visit here.

Following are some recent updates from Get WET participating institutions:

New England Aquarium Our Get WET 2010 participants are hard at work getting their projects together for their final presentations on Saturday, December 4th at the New England Aquarium. The field experiences that participants have planned as part of their projects will take students to a variety of local habitats including Black’s Creek in Quincy, Buzzards Bay in New Bedford and the Beaver Brook North Reservation in Lexington as well as many others.  At each of these locations, a number of activities are planned from water quality testing to soil identification. The educators are using everything they learned during the summer to help their students understand the world just outside their school.  If you’d like to join us for the final presentations, please contact the Teacher Resource Center at or 617.973.6590.

Mystic Aquarium A selection of recent workshop photos

Sampling the water
Collecting water
Dissolved oxygen
Getting ready for the boat
Reviewing results

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!

Get WET at The New England Aquarium

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 2 – July 16, 2010

Get WET Day 2 Photo 1
Margaret uses her quadrate to gather data about the area

Our second day was full of even more marine adventures!  Today we took the teachers out to the Boston Harbor Islands to do some field investigations using the tidepools on Lovell’s Island.  After putting on sunscreen, we hopped on a boat that we chartered right from the docks of the Aquarium.  After a gorgeous 40-minute ride with the city of Boston in the background, we landed on the island.  With a quick welcome from the National Park Service rangers, Doug and Tim, we headed to the west end of the island to do some exploring.  Here are some of the reflections from the teachers on their experience.

Margaret Nolan – 6th grade in Hamilton, MA:  “The boat ride to Lovell’s Island on this beautiful day was another great experience. When first let loose on the beach, we followed our first instincts to scatter and explore. I found it interesting that we were told that this is exactly what is suggested for our students – allow about 10 minutes to take in all that they can before beginning the field work.”

Get WET Day 2 Photo 2
Due to the negative tide, we were able to reach areas that had some interesting inhabitants. This included a brittle seastar.

Abdulmalik Jackson – 8th – 12th grade in Boston, MA:  “The prior knowledge, given the day before simplified and cut the amount of actual discussion needed to clarify our objectives. I must say duplicating the model of how we, the teachers receive the data, shall make my job all the easier when in the classroom. So upon completion of yesterday’s dock instructions we teamed up and were sent off. My partner Jim and I chose a tide pool with ground water running into the ocean. Placing our quadrant in the running water initially made it easy to observe the marine life. Our instructor Bill came over and observed our saline test with hydrometer, water temperature and gave examples of “how he taught his class/students these procedures”. Within 15 minutes we observed a group of hermit crabs quickly making their way towards the rocks, moments later, the tide started coming. Thus, clarifying why hermits were scurrying for safety. Bill also explained the importance of climate changing affecting our planet, specifically marine life, that it is an extremely delicate balance.”

Get WET Day 2 Photo 3
The group heads towards the water to measure the sea level

Joyce Nett – 4th – 6th in Lexington, MA:  “The more we can use measurement in its true context, the more meaningful it will be for students and the more likely they will be able to recall the skill when needed. Collecting data allows us to start building a database from which we observe trends. After a while, we can start to make hypotheses about these trends (were they under similar conditions, time of year, place, etc.) After analysis, students will begin to refine their requirements for data, perhaps adding a more accurate global position or time of day. In other words, they are motivated to develop the standards and methods of scientists because they want to see the data! Although I think I will keep most of our studies next year to fresh water areas near our school, I will definitely use most of these data collection methods.”