—by Catherine Cramer, Staff Writer

Jack Crowley of UMass/Dartmouth demonstrates how plankton nets can be constructed out of everyday materials.

NE-COSEE’s second year of the Ocean Science Education Institute, OSEI II, has been in full swing since May 2004, bringing scientists and educators together to introduce the excitement of current ocean research into the middle school classroom. Using lessons learned from OSEI II, this year’s approach is at the district level. ``The pairing of researchers with whole districts shows great promise for the sustainable integration of ocean science research into middle school classrooms,’’ says Bob Chen of UMass Boston and OSEI II Project Leader for NE-COSEE.

To better meet the diverse needs of different districts, three separate OSEI II institutes were held this summer. Participants met to develop projects that fit within the existing district curriculums and to create action plans for implementation and evaluation. Each OSEI II project is being tested in classrooms during 2004-2005. In Boston, where the Full Option Science System (FOSS) is used in all 28 middle schools, ocean science is being integrated into Populations and Ecosystems and Diversity of Life curriculums. (Click here to read more about the Populations and Ecosystems project. Click here to read more about the Diversity of Life Project.) OSEI’s efforts in both of these areas are supported by the FOSS curriculum developers.

The third OSEI II team is working within the Fairhaven and Plymouth districts and at the New Bedford Global Learning Charter School (NBGLCS). Fairhaven is developing curriculum based on the carbon cycle (click here to read more about the carbon cycle project); NBGLCS is exploring the use of plankton in the classroom and developing a scallop survey; and the Plymouth group is also working on plankton activities and on wave-action curriculum. (Click here to see OSEI II researcher Dr. Ralph Stephen's wave action movies for students and teachers.)

OSEI II brings value to all participants: effective classroom programs for teachers, expression of the broader impacts of their work for researchers, and increased interaction for both. ``OSEI II is about creating interaction between researchers and educators that is productive and sustainable,’’ says Bob Chen.

All participants will come together in December, 2004 and again in May, 2005 to report on the successes and lessons learned during OSEI II.

Photo: Jack Crowley of UMass/Dartmouth demonstrates how plankton nets can be constructed out of everyday materials.

Participating Schools:
BPS/Umana Barnes MS, Edward MS, Mildrid Ave. MS, Timilty MS, Edison MS, Grover Cleveland MS, Sarah Greenwood MS
Global Learning Charter School, Plymouth South MS, Plymouth Community MS, Hastings MS, Fairhaven MS,
Fairhaven HS, and Swampscott Middle School
Participating Research Institutions:
WHOI, NEAQ, UMass/Boston, UNH, SEA, URI, and UMass/Dartmouth

Check out The Plymouth Wave Lab, a series of downloadable movies of waves on a string created by The Marine Seismology and Geoacousitcs Group at WHOI and intended for middle school students.