Archive | Odds and Ends

What does MARE look like for you?

I am asking this question for all of you to give a detailed summary of what your MARE programs look like as of the first day of December. We have all discussed our ideas at our October meeting and I’d just like everyone to chime in on how the MARE program is going in your individual scenarios. At our October meeting we learned that MARE has taken on very diverse formats across the state of NJ. I feel that there are no “wrong ways” to incorporate the MARE topics into our schools. I would however like to show the MARE and Ocean Science community just how diverse our program has become. I know that in many of your schools, due to budgetary considerations, the MARE program has taken the form of an informal club. But let’s reflect and be specific about what that looks like because I know that there are some great things going on! So, if all of you would please give us a synopsis of what the MARE program looks like in your school, I’m sure that we could all benefit from the discussion!



Props for MARE Participants!

I was browsing through the October 30 issue of The Lacey-Barnegat Times and was excited to see 2010 MARE Summer Institute participant Gina Verderosa featured in an article!  Gina received at $2,500 Go Green grant from the Ocean First Foundation to implement a variety of environmentally themed projects at the Joseph T. Donahue School in Barnegat, NJ.  The grant money will be used to fund the school’s annual participation in the National Green Week in February.  Each grade level will have an integral part in the program.  Fourth and fifth grade students in the MARE Club will be working on landscaping around the school, managing a composting bin with the younger students in grades K-3 and acting as role-model “green-keepers” for the entire school population.  Gina is advising the MARE club with fellow staff member Jane Goddard.   Gina has plans to involve the whole school in going green with projects for each grade level:

  • Kindergarten will create and care for an indoor garden using recylced materials and producing plants for Mother’s Day!
  • First grade will recycle bottle caps and facilitate awareness that they are not recycled by township recycling programs.
  • Second grade classes will start with the compost bin and maintain it daily to eventually produce soil for the gardens.
  • Third grade classes will start an outdoor garden to beautify the school landscape.
  • Fourth grade students will organize a campaign to increase the amount of paper, plastic, cans and bottles that is recycled in the school. 
  • Fifth grade classes will conduct energy audits and monitor recycling efforts at the school. They will analyze data and become the “report card” for the program.

BRAVO Barnegat crew!!! We are so proud of our MARE grads!

Check out your November 2010 issue of The New Jersey Education Association Reporter, in the Classroom Close up NJ section, you will see Rob Causton’s  Oxford Central School as one of the programs receiving NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education funding for their Oceans and Estuaries program.  Seventh graders at the Oxford Central School traveled to Long Beach Island for a three-day camping and ocean/estuaries study.  Host Wendell Steinhauer joined the students at the Coast Guard Station on LBI and at the Viking Village commercial fishing port.   Thumbs up Oxford Central!  Thank you for spreading our love of ocean science with your students!


How does MARE fit with the NJCCC STANDARDS?

The honest answer is easily and everywhere!  The MARE activities span multiple disciplines including components of writing, reading, art, cooperative learning, math, history, physical education and of course Science!  These same activities often spark extension lessons in music, interpersonal skills, vocabulary and spelling, and theater.

For example, our second grade classes study The Sandy Beach in the MARE curriculum.  Since we have a bird’s eye view of Old Barney from our shores, the students were very interested in the lighthouse.  We often visit the sandy beach at Island Beach State Park or Long Beach Island, NJ as part of our unit.  We also contacted the wonderful people at the NJ Lighthouse Society for a school visitation.  Now, how did we meet our CCCStandards?

We started with the principles of Understanding By Design (UBD) and identified the “big ideas” that we wanted our students to understand from the lessons. For example, we wanted our students to understand that lighthouses serve a purpose and that purpose is navigation assistance for marine travel.  We also wanted the students to understand that lighthouse design follows a few common traits including shape, color and lense choice.  Lastly, we wanted the students to understand that lighthouses have both an impact and play an integral part in the sandy beach habitats where they are located.  Now, you may be thinking that we are straying very far from the content standards here….. but just wait…. it all comes together!  Keep an open mind and know that you can address your CCCStandards easily with this or ANY MARE activity.

Once our “big ideas” or key concepts were identified, we then chose our activities to accomplish these concepts.  We matched each activity with cross-curricular connections and with the Content Standards for our grade level. For this example, grades 1 to 2 are the target audiences, but it is adaptable for various grade levels.   Below are three of the eight activities we chose and how they fit into the Content Standards.

Activity MARE Activity NJCCCS Cross-Curricular Connection
Students will measure (ft.) and draw Barnegat Lighthouse on the playground using chalk.
  • 4.1 Number Sense
  • 4.2 Geometry/Measurement
  • 1.1 Creative Art
  • Math
  • Art
  • Sand sampling near lighthouse
  • Sand sample examination using microscopes.
  • Discussion
  • Record observations in journal
  • Navajo sand art
Sand on Stage
  • 5.8 Earth materials5.1 Science Practices(observe and record)
  • 5.6 Structure and Prop. Of Matter
  • 3.3 Questioning & Discussion
  • 3.2 Writing
  • 1.2 Art History
  • Language Arts
  • Art
  • Social Studies
  • Bio blitz, identification and counting of plant and animal life at Barn.
  • Lighthouse State Park habitat, record using flip video, journals,drawings, etc.
  • MARE Seashore Charades will be used to have the students kinesthetically act out the adaptations of various organisms in the habitat both at high and low tides.
Seashore Charades
  • 1.3 Performing Arts5.1 Science Practices(active investigation)
  • 5.3 Life Science
  • (various principles)
  • 3.2 Writing
  • 3.3 Speaking
  • 8.1 Technology
  • 4.4 Data analysis
  • Art
  • Technology
  • Language Arts
  • Interpersonal
  • Health
  • Phys. Ed.
  • Math

Many of the MARE lessons are correlated with the NJ Core Curricular Content Standards in the document “The Golden Lessons” available at this site: and also on the Cosee site at:

The MARE Master Trainers would also be happy to help you identify how your activity fits into the MARE program and the NJCCCS through the forum on this site.  Just send out a query and we will be glad to help you!

We realize that  justification is often requested or required by your supervisor.  When you bring a new idea to your school, such as the MARE club or MARE curriculum, it often falls upon you to be the “salesperson” for the product.  Please remember that your COSEE community is here to help you! I can promise you, it is definitely worth it!


End of Summer Thoughts

Hey Everyone!

I have had the fortunate opportunity to spend some more time than usual “down the shore” this summer. As the time winds down, and I start to shift my focus to my classroom and school “stuff”, I am getting excited to see what develops. It is always a challenge to figure out how I can incorporate ocean science themes and lessons into my curriculum. This year that holds even truer than years past. This year, like many teachers in NJ, I will be returning to a totally new curriculum and some of my colleagues that I have worked with for years will not be there. I can’t control some things that have happened before the end of this past school year but I can control my perspective on what is to come this year. I am a special area teacher, specifically, a Spanish teacher. I was running a World Cultures classroom but due to changes, I am returning to the Spanish classroom. This is going to give me an opportunity to “tweak” our existing Spanish program and put my teaching style back into the program. I’d like to use Ane’s saying here and “sprinkle some science” into what we will study in Spanish this year. I’m fortunate because in reality, our Spanish curriculum is very diverse in subject. We teach some math, art, social studies, language arts, and of course science. So I have a few ideas of what I can incorporate. Right off the bat I’d like to set up a “weather wall”. A few years ago at one of our MARE Summer Institutes we received a “weather board” as part of our science materials. I’d like to take that idea and super-size it. Every day during the beginning of class, I’ll ask a student to go right to the computer and find the weather from a Spanish-speaking country. They will be required to post on the bulletin board any and all information about the weather in that city/country–in Spanish of course! I’ll provide them with the “scaffolding” that they’ll need to be successful but it will be their own responsibility. I have some other ideas about using maps and doing some research on hurricanes in the Atlantic. But I have to hash them out once I set up my classroom. Anyway, I’d like to hear how some of you out there will be incorporating some ocean science topics into your classrooms. It doesn’t have to be complicated–just “sprinkle” it on!!


Taken: Bay Ave, Manahawkin--close to Blacky's Clams


MARE Goes To The Club

MARE is branching out from whole school participation, into small designated clubs.  These clubs can be school based or community based, such as 4H or Scouting.  The advantages of the club format include:  freedom….sweet freedom!  Freedom from tests, Freedom from curriculum constraints, Freedom of participants, Freedom of meeting times, Freedom of following your student’s own natural curiousity!   A second advantage is creator control.  You have the control over who attends the club, where and when it meets, and which MARE projects you explore!  The big disadvantage is usually No Money, no money, no money.  Few club leaders are paid positions.  There is typically little money for supplies and field trips.  Don’t let that discourage you.  The benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks.  Current MARE Summer Institute participants also have an excellent source for funding their first year within The Geraldine R. Dodge Grant with Rutgers University.

So let’s get started:

  1. Define your target audience
  2. Define your mission: What do you want to accomplish?
  3. Recruit help: Principal or Supervisor, colleagues, parents, look beyond the Science dept., include former/older students, Math teachers, Artists, Physical Education specialists
  4. Create publicity: wiki pages are often free, posters around the school or town, bulletin boards, blogs, newsletters, displays
  5. Designate meeting times and place:  try not to compete with other extra-curricular activities, check schedules, consider transportation requirements, consider equipment in the meeting room.
  6. Consult websites such as:  for help and guidance
  7. Give your club a cool name:  students can create this at your first meeting
  8. Require permission slips and release forms:  give parents an overview of clearly defined expectations for attendance, behavior, field trips, parent participation, mission statement
  9. Plan your first meeting:  keep it simple!, Don’t plan a club like a classroom lesson; it needs to be different, involve the students in some decision making to encourage them to feel ownership of the club (perhaps let them choose from a short list of first activities or solicit ideas from them for future projects that interest them!)  Keep the ideas of inquiry learning and curiousity as the fuel,  foremost in your mind!
  10. Set the agenda for your next meeting:  enlist your students help in collecting needed supplies, ask students to contribute to an online wiki page: use pen names to keep student identity hidden, ask for feedback on meeting #1, ideas for the future, create an online science response journal, allow students to post questions
  11. Establish a routine for club meetings:  Gail Cervalo from the MARE Summer Institute suggested:
  • Enter and sign in
  • Thought experiment or Journal jotting (i.e., pretend you are an ice molecule on an ice flow in Antarctica, describe your journey)
  • Idea exchange
  • Team experiment and data recording
  • Reflection round
  •  Journals go home for reflection,  and sharing at the next meeting

For further explanation, you can contact Gail at:  She is a wonderful resource!

Activities and Project Ideas:

Once you have your club set up and your mission statement clearly defined, where can you find ideas for projects?  2010 MARE Summer Institute participants should use their proposed project for Ocean Day as their starting point.    In addition, there are numerous resources available online to match your student’s interest:

You can search the STEM Clubs website under Activity ideas or Project ideas

You can start with a “golden lesson” for any grade level in the MARE program, with CCCStandards, interdisciplinary ideas, materials lists, and simple clear directions at: also on the COSEE site at:

Add in some of the interactive, discovery learning lessons from the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium at:  registration is free.  Marsh munchies is one of my personal favorites!

Go for a swim with UCLA’s Science Standards with Integrated Marine Science (SSWIMS) where lesson plans and data sets are listed alphabetically for easy searching:

Rutgers COOL Room (Coastal Ocean Observatory Lab) can help you use online interactive lessons with real-time data on topics such as weather, sea surface temperature and currents, marine food webs and fish habitats.  Middle to high school is the target age range for these activities! COOL off at:

Of course, there are many more wonderful resources both online and in print.  These are just a few to get you started!  That is the important message:  JUST GET STARTED!  MARE clubs will have an intrinsic driving force….your students curiousity and motivation to learn.  Keep it fun, keep it simple, enjoy the experience along side of your students.  There is a little of that curious kid inside all of us…tap into it and let it free for an hour a week in your club!


There is a simple MARE club planning page in the documents section on the COSEE site: 



August 2010 National Report on Water Quality

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmentalist group, realeased its annual “Testing the Waters” report last week (8/1/2010).  The report contains results from over 200 bay and ocean beach water samplings over the past year. 

  • Beachwood Beach West was ranked the state’s dirtiest with 51% of samples exceeding safe bacteria levels
  • West Beach in Pine Beach had 33% of samples exceeding the state limit
  • Money Island in Toms River had 26% of samples exceeding the state standard
  • Ocean beaches fared better than bay beaches with levels of fecal bacteria minimal or non-existent
  • Jennifer Street in Stafford Twp. and Parkertown Road Beach in Little Egg Harbor had no samples that exceeded state limits.

Experts believe that most of the bacteria content in local waterways is the result of leaky septic sytems and even public sewerage facilities, as well as pet waste that is washed down storm drains and fed through outfall pipes into the bay.


  • Properly cleaning up pet waste
  • Maintaining septic systems
  • stormwater management plans
  • Maintain and monitor sewerage systems
  • Proposed laws to require fertilizer manufacturers to sell only low-nitrogen products
  • Legislation to require and fund stormwater management plans

More information is available at:      and

One Ocean, one chance at making a difference.


Our Own Touch Tank

For years we have paid a local aquarium to bring a touch tank to our school for Ocean Week.  This year we decided to dive in and try our own!  We purchased a 20 gallon salt water aquarium set up and ordered both the “small marine set” and “large marine set” from Carolina Biological supply.  The tank was set up in the classroom of a teacher who agreed to host half hour visits from all classes during Ocean week.  The students in the class acted as aquarium “guides” and created posterboard displays for five of the selected species in the tank (sea star, sea urchin, snail, hermit crab and sea cucumber).  The students wore “shark visors” and went to pick up each class for their scheduled visit.  The classes walked into the decorated “aquarium” through a curtain of seaweed (green table cloth cut in strips and hung by a tension rod).  Each guide talked to the classes about their specific species and then allowed the children to move in small groups to touch the critters in small “show ‘n tell” bowls on the student’s desks.  The visitors could ask questions and get a close look at each species.  The interaction between the guides and the visitors was fantastic.  The visits were fast paced and hands-on and kept the student’s attention focused on learning about the organisms.  Now that our school owns the tank, we will simply have to replenish the organisms each year.  The “small marine set” is as low as $25.00.   Take note:  we had no experience with a salt water fish tank set-up.  Our amazing PTA funded the purchase of the tank.  We added furniture sliders to the tank stand to allow it to be moved if necessary.  So if you are looking to provide that hands-on, up close and personal visit with marine organisms, why not try your own touch tank?  The chemistry of water testing is even great fun for the students to observe or participate in!


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