Teaching Sciences by Ocean Inquiry
Workshop Educators
Held at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, ME
Summers 2006 through 2008
Nancy Sills
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."