This course was offered as part of Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning Courses for Massachusetts educators. Eligible Massachusetts educators were able to take this course for free with a $450 stipend. Learn more about OAPL by visiting our OAPL page.

Whales’ Tales, Turtle Hurdles, and Migration Phenomena

A Summer Professional Development Institute for Grades 3-8 Educators

An Approved Course for MA DESE’s Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning

Local ecosystems hold an abundance of knowledge, data, and interconnections for scientists and educators to explore. During this institute, participants experienced real-life connections between marine science, technology, engineering, and math as they explored the phenomena of migration of whales, sharks, turtles, butterflies, and birds. Participants deepened their understanding of science and engineering concepts as they learned about and toured research facilities of the three partner organizations: Manomet, Inc., Lloyd Center for the Environment, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

The Institute began at Manomet Inc., exploring the milkweed on site and the communities they support, including Monarch butterflies. Participants experienced Manomet’s environmental stewardship work while measuring migration with both low- and high-tech bird tracking. They continued on their migration exploration with the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. Teachers explored tools used to track migrating species and worked with real time data to gain an understanding of the importance of both technologically collected data as well as historical data collected by whalers and fisherman. Teachers also participated as students in an anchoring phenomenon routine, for which they generated a T-chart of notices and wonders, an initial model, and questions for a driving question board.

The week continued at the Lloyd Center for the Environment where participants were excited to release a Diamondback Terrapin to the Slocums River waters during a unique and rewarding paddling experience. Additionally, teachers on land were participating in a bioblitz activity by collecting as many photos of different species as possible to record on iNaturalist. The group then returned to Manomet Inc. where they participated in more investigations about breeding birds and shorebird migration.

Through these experiences and a variety of leveled inquiry investigations, participants were able to gain
further understanding of phenomena-based teaching and inquiry-based lessons that strengthen their teaching of the Science and Engineering Practices. Throughout the week, teachers were encouraged to think about ways they can incorporate local ecosystems, marine life, and/or migration phenomena into their classroom practice.

This course was FREE for eligible MA educators through MA DESE’s Accelerating Science: Open Access Professional Learning Courses.

Manomet, Inc.
Lloyd Center for the Environment
Atlantic White Shark Conservancy