6A.4 Using fisheries science in K-12 activities

Saturday, 14 November 2009: 9:25 AM
Mary Carla Curran, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA; and K. M. Hoover

Ocean literacy concepts can be woven into a variety of K-12 activities. We will present activities coauthored by a university scientist and local teachers. The level of the activities range from pre-K through high school and suggestions for modifications to suit various users (e.g., grade level, enrichment, proximity to coast) will be provided. Activities focus on estuarine organisms and processes and include examples for fish/fisheries, invertebrates, parasites, and marsh health. One lesson focuses on flatfish shape and growth. Older students learn the metric system in a second activity by calculating fish distributions and densities. We explain how scientists sort their fish catches. The food web is explained with a hands-on activity based on grass shrimp in marsh areas. We also will present a lesson describing the scientific method. In addition to addressing national/state science standards, these lessons demonstrate that the ocean supports a great diversity of life (Ocean Literacy Principle #5). One-on-one collaborations between a teacher and scientist can be productive. The most rewarding collaborations occurred when the students were also participating in data collection. We took students to the marsh to see if they could quantify cord grass density as accurately as scientists. In addition, we have incorporated elementary students into one of the first student-driven recycling program in a public school in Savannah, GA. We found that student-collected data could be accurate if appropriate guidance was given. Larger partnerships, such as the new NSF GK12 program starting at Savannah State University, will provide greater possibilities to enhance science curricula and provide more opportunities to infuse fisheries science into K-12 activities.
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