When members of an orchestra tune their instruments before a big concert I imagine there is a high level of anticipatory excitement. That is exactly how I felt yesterday at the Seacoast Science Center (SSC).
I had the fantastic opportunity to spend the entire day with two tremendous employees of the SSC, Kate Leavitt and Sarah Toupin. The twenty-four lesson, seven-week rocky shore ecosystem unit is complete, but it will not be ready for its debut until a lot of “tuning” has been done. We spent many hours going over the curriculum with a fine-toothed radula to ensure it aligns extremely well with the Next Generation Science Standards. If you don’t know what a radula is, you should look it up!
While examining the curriculum we also did something that I was not planning for but am very excited about – we aligned each lesson to the Ocean Literacy Principles. These seven detailed principles were created by educators from kindergarten through college, researches from multiple ocean science disciplines, education policymakers, science coordinators from departments of education and federal agency representatives involved in education.
The seven principles were developed to promote ocean literacy: the understanding of the ocean’s influence on humans and our influence on the ocean. You can find the seven principles HERE. The correlations between the Next Generation Science Standards and the Ocean Literacy Principles and Concepts can be found HERE.
Besides ensuring that the standards and the lesson content aligned, we also spent a lot of time making necessary revisions to produce a user-friendly document for educators. A major objective of mine in the creation of this unit is to guarantee teachers that this curriculum will be an easy and enjoyable unit to implement in their classrooms.
The “finished” curriculum should be available at some point in April! However, my continued hope will be that this FREE ecosystem unit available to all educators will be a “living” document. As time passes and I receive valuable feedback from educators, necessary improvements will be made to increase the learning experiences of all students participating in the lessons provided by this resource.
A HUGE thanks once again to the Seacoast Science Center for all their collaborative efforts in the development and promotion of this curriculum.
One final question and answer to reflect upon…What did the ocean say to the beachgoers? Nothing…it just waved.
Featured Article Image by Adam Kelley
The rocky shore curriculum I am developing is nearing its final stages, so I recently met with the Seacoast Science Center (SSC) to see how their institution might be able to assist me at this time. I met with Kate Leavitt, Director of Mission Initiatives, to discuss fine-tuning the curriculum as well as promoting it.
The following ways we are going to collaborate include:
- Analyzing the entire curriculum to ensure it is user-friendly and standards-based.
- Kate, Sarah Toupin (School and Group Program Manager) and I will take a day to review each lesson of the curriculum to check for any errors to areas in need of improvement. We will also us the EQuIP Rubric to provide evidence on the quality and alignment of the rocky shore science unit with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). You can check this rubric out HERE.
- Promoting the curriculum via SSC website.
- We will explore various ways the rocky shore curriculum might be able to be accessible via the SSC website so the curriculum can have as much exposure (and get as much use) as possible.
- Part of the objective of creating the curriculum is to provide elementary school teachers with a free science resource, and advertising its existence as much as possible is very important.
- Possibly offering webinars to educators and/or science workshops using SSC’s facilities.
- SSC has the technology to provide quality distance learning opportunities for educators, and they also have a great onsite room that can be used for teacher or student education – the Gregg Interactive Learning Studio (GILS). Doing one or both may be in my future.
- Working side-by-side with SSC’s dedicated volunteers.
- Helping educators who benefit from SSC’s services be aware of the curriculum’s existence.
- Whether by handing out flyers or sending out emails, we are considering ways to promote the rocky shore curriculum to educators who visit the SSC for a variety of educational purposes.
- Gathering more image / illustration resources with the much appreciated help of Karen Provazza, SSC’s Director of Marketing.
- Karen has been a wonderful, behind-the-scenes help in the development of this curriculum. Several images and illustrations featured in the curriculum will be from the SSC (and were found and virtually delivered by Karen).
I am so thankful for Kate, Sarah and Karen and the entire SSC staff. The rocky shore curriculum would be lacking a great deal without their help, and it will prove to be of high quality thanks to their collaborative efforts. I am also very grateful to their continuous dedication to encouraging ocean literacy and advocating for ocean conservation!
It can be difficult to work hard on anything when you can’t visually see the results of your labor. As much joy as I have had in the pursuit of creating a curriculum for New Hampshire educators and their students, it has been no easy task to work for hours and hours and see little development. However, the anticipation of the outcome makes tasks worthwhile, no matter how arduous or tedious they can be.
And the first outcome of many was emailed to me this afternoon by Kirsty Walker of Hobblebush Design – the first draft of the first lesson of the curriculum…woo hoo! Although it is only a draft, and will receive some illustrative upgrades and perhaps more tweaking, it was a beautiful sight.
I am thrilled that the creation of this curriculum is underway, and I am extremely thankful for the time and effort Mark Wiley of UNH, Kate Leavitt of the Seacoast Science Center, and Kirsty Walker of Hobblebush have put into this project.
I am currently working on lesson four of this rocky shore curriculum, and have many more to go, but couldn’t wait to share a sample of what has been made and what is to come with all of you.
Thank YOU for taking the time to read this, and for your support and encouragement.
Enjoy the “sneak peek”:
For the past two years, one of the most supportive and influential collaborators in the formation of my sabbatical project has been the Seacoast Science Center (SSC). Staff members from this amazing organization go full tilt when it comes to educating others about the ocean’s ecosystems and their conservation – and they are taking this energy and infusing it into the development of our rocky shore curriculum for New Hampshire educators and their students.
Here is a brief overview of the Seacoast Science Center and their mission:
- They are a non-profit marine science education organization located at Odiorne State Park in Rye, New Hampshire.
- Their facility houses interactive and educational exhibits for all ages.
- They provide several programs on marine education on a variety of subjects for a variety of age groups.
- They are home to the New Hampshire’s Marine Mammal Rescue Team – a group of dedicated individuals responding to all reports of live and deceased marine mammals in NH’s coastal region.
The three individuals who are helping me most on this project so far have been Kate Leavitt (Director of Mission Initiatives – on left), Sarah Toupin (School and Group Program Manager – on right), and Perrin Chick (former Education Director). Each of these passionate educators has already provided a tremendous amount of ideas, insights and expertise in both the development of my project and in the growth of my own knowledge and enthusiasm. I am very much looking forward to collaborating with them throughout this sabbatical year.
Here are the main ways we are going to be working together:
- Kate and Sarah have agreed to help me with the creation of this curriculum – providing feedback in the drafting, revising and editing of this project.
- The SSC has agreed to provide images and illustrations to increase the educational and visual value of the curriculum.
- The SSC is willing to provide me with occasional office space during the duration of my sabbatical.
- The SSC is going to provide me with opportunities to shadow their naturalists during their educational programs.
- The SSC provides several learning events that I will take advantage of, including this year’s BioBlitz.
The Seacoast Science Center and its dedicated staff is a blazing lighthouse of marine education to our region’s residents and tourists. They provide innumerable amounts of expertise, skills, programs and compassion to those interested in learning about marine wildlife and their habitat. With the smallest amount of coastline, NH’s residents need to learn about the value and importance of their rocky shore and how they can be productive stewards. I am extremely excited and thankful to be working with the SSC and its staff, and will continue to provide updates on our collaborative efforts!