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:
- Define your target audience
- Define your mission: What do you want to accomplish?
- Recruit help: Principal or Supervisor, colleagues, parents, look beyond the Science dept., include former/older students, Math teachers, Artists, Physical Education specialists
- Create publicity: wiki pages are often free, posters around the school or town, bulletin boards, blogs, newsletters, displays
- 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.
- Consult websites such as: http://www.stemclubs.net for help and guidance
- Give your club a cool name: students can create this at your first meeting
- Require permission slips and release forms: give parents an overview of clearly defined expectations for attendance, behavior, field trips, parent participation, mission statement
- 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!
- 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
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 http://www.stemclubs.net/projects
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: http://marine.rutgers.edu/main/MARE/Getting-Started-with-MARE.html also on the COSEE site at: http://coseenow.net/mare/getting-started/
Add in some of the interactive, discovery learning lessons from the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium at: http://www.njmsc.org/ 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: http://www.msc.ucla.edu/sswims/marinelinks2.htm
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: http://www.coolclassroom.org/teachers_guide/teachersguide.html
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: http://coseenow.net/groups/mare/documents/