Teaching Sciences by Ocean Inquiry
Held at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, ME
Summers 2006 through 2008
The workshops consisted of a diverse group of educators: about one-third teach in Maine while the rest came
from Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. All participants represented states
with inquiry, marine science, or "earth as a system" criteria in their science education standards. At the time of their
workshop, the attendees were teaching physics, earth science, physical science, and biology to students in grades eight
through twelve, and their classroom experience ranged from one year to well over twenty.
What did the participants expect coming into the workshop?
Not all of the participants were completely comfortable with the idea of teaching through inquiry. Others didn't realize that
they were already doing it! They chose to attend the workshops to discover ways to get their kids excited about learning
seemingly difficult physical concepts. They also wanted to bring to their classrooms the excitement of exploration and
inquiry about the world around us. Many felt that there was no better way to capture the imagination of students then
through the use of hands-on activities and experimentation. Along with lab sessions, pedagogy discussions delivered a better
understanding of the process of "learning through inquiry" and how to implement specific activities in a classroom setting. In
addition to specific implementation ideas, many teachers also expressed a personal vested interest in increasing their own
knowledge of the world's oceans.
The photo on this page is of Nancy Sills from Hamilton, GA. Nancy has been in service for 22 years and is currently teaching
middle school science. According to Nancy: "Too often when you attend a workshop that sounds good on paper they have a
tendency not be what you were expecting. That was not the case with this workshop. I returned from Maine with a boat load
of activities, a better understanding of ocean science, and a wonderful new network of teachers to help me when I need it.
It was all it was promised plus more."