For more ideas of ways to inspire and engage students, the teachers toured the National Marine Life Center. Behind the scenes, the teachers were introduced to marine mammal rehabilitation hospital patients, many of whom had stranded along the Northeast coastline. During the summer months, patients are primarily seal pups who suffered maternal separation. They often are malnourished, dehydrated and infested with parasites, or they suffer from respiratory distress that would lead to pneumonia in the wild. A field trip to a hospital filled with sick seals can prompt student engagement and advocacy of ocean sciences.
During the week, the teachers also traveled to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), where they witnessed some of the science and engineering practices and instruments involved in studying ocean processes. The group visited Alvin, the first 3-person research submersible (Human Occupied Vehicle, or HOV) utilized by WHOI scientist.Alvin was recently modified and modernized, so the teachers learned about the engineering changes made to the vehicle. Alvin has been utilized by scientists to study benthic features, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, since 1965 and has helped with mapping the ocean floor along the New England coast as well as more extensive sampling of the ocean.