Included in the Spring 2012 newsletter:
- March Ocean Lecture & Educators’ Night Announcement
- Review of January Ocean Lecture & Educators’ Night
- MARE Highlight: Eisenhower Intermediate’s MARE Student Leaders
- Did You Know?: Science Standards Graded
- What’s Hot in Ocean Sciences: Oyster & Oyster Reef research
- Resources Galore!: Ocean Themed Children’s Books
- Scientists & Science Learning
- Try This!: Density Tanks and Jars with MARE Student Leaders
- News from the MARE Team
- Join in the Conversations!
- MARE Team Presents at the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting
- Up Coming Events
Interested in reading the .pdf version of the entire Spring 2012 Newsletter?
Join us for an … Ocean Lecture & Educator’s Night Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 6:00 – 8:30pm
Ever wonder why there are so many bacteria out there and if all bacteria really bad? Interested in learning more about current New Jersey ecological research to teach your students?
Join us for an exciting evening science lecture by Dr. Lee Kerkhof, who will share his current research about marine ecology, diversity, and the exciting world of microbes. Following, we will share related lesson plans and discuss how to bring the topics into your classrooms.
Door prizes and food will be provided. For more information about the event, background information about the science concepts we will cover, and how to register visit – Opportunities & Resources: Ocean Lecture & Educators‘ Night page on the MARE website.
January Ocean Lecture & Educators’ Night a Big Success!
The MARE team hosted the first Ocean Lecture & Educators’ Night on January 19, 2012. The evening was a great success.
Dr. Olaf Jensen presented on his work on the status of global fisheries, local New Jersey fisheries, and current fishery tagging research on Black Sea Bass (the presentation with audio is available on the MARE website). Following the lecture Dr. Jensen joined the participants for dinner to answer any additional questions, and to demonstrate how to age Black Sea Bass from their scales.
The MARE Team adapted 11 lesson plans to bring Dr. Jensen’s research into your classrooms. We walked through the Black Sea Bass Encounter activity as a group and all enjoyed being fishery scientists in the “field” estimating the population size.
See you next time!
What do you do when you have students who want to learn about the ocean, but other priorities are put ahead of MARE at your school? At Eisenhower Intermediate School they started a MARE Student Leaders club!
Given the current legislation, school programs such as MARE have taken a “back seat” in most cases. Eisenhower Intermediate School, like many, has also experienced much of this “re-prioritizing,” so with the creation of our MARE Student Leaders club our hope was to put the wind back into the sails of MARE.
The MARE Student Leaders are a group of students and teacher advisors that are committed to learning about the ocean and its preservation. Using many of the MARE lessons and activities as a backbone (see the Try This! section later in the newsletter for some examples), the MARE Student Leaders meet and work in our ocean science lab performing experiments, activities, and maintaining the specimens we house in our ocean science lab. Our MARE Student Leaders meet four times a month.
With our “restructuring” of MARE within Eisenhower Intermediate School, our goal is to maximize our time and energy to make each meeting significant. Each year students continue to want to be a part of our MARE program and its roots will become stronger with each group of students.
- Jason Draine, Art Educator
Science Standards Graded: The Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently completed their third national review of State Science Standards. There’s good and bad news for New Jersey.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute published the results of their third review of the states’ science standards early in 2012. They brought in science experts from each of the main science disciplines to review the “Content & Rigor” and “Clarity & Specificity” of the standards. Overall, the national average was a C. However, only 6 states received an A grade, while 27 states received a D or F. The report found that in general science standards were: undermining evolution, had vague goals, did not provide enough guidance for teachers of how to integrate the history of science and the concept of scientific inquiry into lesson plans, and there was not enough attention to math instruction.
Unfortunately, New Jersey received a D grade (2/7 for Content & Rigor and 1/3 for Clarity & Specificity). This low grade highlights some of the short comings of our science standards (i.e. incomplete standards at the high school level, confusing supplemental class materials). However, the low grade also masks some of the positive components of our science standards, for example the lower grade standards are straightforward and complete. To read the complete report or to view New Jersey’s and other state’s report cards visit the Fordham Institute’s The State of Science Standards website.
* Good to Know: All hope is not lost! The Fordham Institute also conducted a review of the National Research Councils Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework). Using similar criteria, the Framework received a B+ grade. The Framework received a perfect 7 out of 7 for the “Content & Rigor,” which is good news considering New Jersey has much room for improvement in this category and we are one of the 26 states currently assisting in developing national standards from the Framework. Remember, the Next Generation Science Standards are a set of national science standards (see Winter 2011 Newsletter), currently being developed with the assistance of 26 states. The first public review and feedback period is scheduled for the spring 2012, visit www.nextgenscience.org.
For more information of how ocean sciences are in the NGSS and how the MARE team is involved read the MARE Blog post.
Oysters not only taste delicious, but they create reefs used by many organisms, much like temperate coral reefs! But how are they doing?
Oysters have been important to human populations throughout the world for millennia. There are even reports of ancient Romans eating oysters! Ecologically, they are really important because they are “ecosystem engineers,” meaning they create reef habitats in temperate marine environments that are the home for the entire ecosystem. Unfortunately, the numbers of oysters in different places have decreased over time, but what are the conditions of oyster reefs globally?
Recently, an international group of scientists, including Dr. Ximing Guo at Rutgers University, compared the past and current health/condition of oyster reefs across 144 bays throughout the world. In addition, the scientists identified multiple cost-effective solutions for conservation, restoration, and the management of oyster reefs.
Researchers found that in 70% of the bays throughout the world, of which they had past and present oyster reef data, the abundance of oyster reefs had decreased by more than 90%. In many of the bays, the abundance had decreased over time by more than 99%. This means that the oyster populations are considered “functionally extinct” (the population level is so low that they can no longer create reefs large enough to support the ecosystem that relied upon them, so all of the other organisms in the ecosystems are negatively impacted as well).
While the results of the study are not positive in terms of the global health of oyster reefs, the story is not all bad. In some places the oyster reefs are in good condition (blue on the map). The scientists also highlighted many programs that are successfully bringing oysters populations back and outlined other steps we can take to conserve, restore, and manage oysters effectively (i.e. prioritize oyster reef protection as important ecosystem habitats).
To access related lesson plans about oysters and oyster reefs and to read the scientific article visit the Oyster & Oyster Reefs in Your Classroom Topic on the MARE Blog.
Earlier this winter, Scuttlebutt went a flutter with lots of emails about good children’s picture books that are related to marine and ocean sciences. Interested in using some in your classroom? Check out the MARE Blog post for the compiled list of recommendations!
What is Scuttlebutt you ask? It is an email listserve that provides a space for marine educators to discuss education ideas, issues, and questions informally. Interested in joining? Visit: http://www.marine-ed.org/scuttlebutt.html.
Scientists & Science Learning
We know that when children use their ideas about the natural world to design investigations or argue about evidence, it strengthens their understanding of both the content and the process of how science is conducted. In just a few weeks we will be welcoming MARE students to participate productively in science by visiting campus and discussing their latest MARE projects during our Ocean Day celebration. Students will interact with each other as science peers and our academic scientists here on campus. We hope this unique opportunity enables students to reflect on their science knowledge of the ocean and practice sharing their knowledge with others. We encourage you to take a look at the National Academies Report on the Strands of Science Learning to think more about how to engage your students in science learning.
The Northwest Center for Sustainable Resources (NCSR) has developed a questionnaire to help teachers determine the effectiveness of an instructional unit in increasing student knowledge of the scientific process of gathering and using data. A sample question is: Science is but one method that we have of “knowing things”. To see the student answer options and other questions visit Student Questionnaire – Northwest Center for Sustainable Resources (NCSR) Chemeketa Community College, Salem, Oregon DUE #0435576.
Try This! Density Tanks and Jars with MARE Student Leaders
Water Density Model
We were helping the kids understand density and the molecular make-up of water. So, we created a model for the students where the pebbles represented fresh water helping them understand that there is still space in between the molecules. Students then poured salt into the jar with the pebbles to represent how the salt fills in the the remaining space around the freshwater, in turn, making it more dense.
This is our density tank. To help students understand the properties of water bodies with different densities we used the density tank. This is an image of the end result of the activity where the fresh water is on top (blue), the brackish water is in the middle (purple) and the salt water is on the bottom (red).
- Jason Draine, Eisenhower Intermediate School
News from the MARE Team
Over the past 16 years we have become a strong community of ocean educators throughout New Jersey. The MARE Team has truly enjoyed working with you and feels privileged to have been able to share MARE with you and your students. We hope this newsletter will keep us connected and share information with one another. Each issue is posted on the MARE website along with complementary materials and resources.
However, the success of this newsletter is not possible without your contributions. Please consider submitting an article (~300 words) about what you are doing with your students. The author of each selected article will receive a gift certificate as a thank you.
Help us support the community by sharing your stories and ideas!
Join in the Conversations!
The MARE Blog is just for you. We post different articles, resources, stories, and announcements.
Join in the conversation on the MARE Forum! Post stories of how your students are responding to the curriculum, questions or concerns about a lesson plan, new ideas for teaching a lesson, etc. See you there![/ilink]
MARE Team Presents at 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting
The MARE team traveled to Salt Lake City, UT in mid-February to participate in the 2012 Ocean Sciences Meeting. Over 4,000 ocean scientists, educators, and policy makers were in attendance to discuss the state of our oceans for a week.
The MARE team hosted a professional development workshop for early career scientists to teach them how students learn science, how to more effectively communicate their science, and how to develop outreach and educational programs around their science. The workshop was a huge success, and there are many more scientists across the country now interested in partnering with teachers (check out the COSEE NOW forums to join in the conversations).
In addition, the MARE team, in conjunction with their science collaborators, presented multiple talks and posters about the marine science education opportunities offered through MARE, COSEE NOW, and Rutgers University