Inspiration Collaboration Story:
NOAA Scientists Help Develop Science Camp
NOAA Fisheries hosted its first “Science Camp” for middle school students on the island of Oahu in June 2014. The target audience was eighth graders during the 2014-15 school year from public and charter schools, with an emphasis on reaching under-represented students. The camp was a successful collaboration between the NOAA Fisheries Communication Team, and over 30 scientists from NOAA Fisheries and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (Univ. of Hawaii).
The Communications Team worked directly with the scientists to develop grade-level appropriate lessons for the 60 participants. A training day was held for the science teachers two weeks before camp with the dual purpose of providing a “test run” of the science modules for the presenters, and giving the teachers a chance to make constructive comments on the materials in order to better address a middle school-aged audience. Throughout the camp, the teachers provided valuable assistance with the student subgroups as well as feedback on the presentations, activities and materials. NOAA Fisheries plans to continue working with the teachers to provide science enrichment for their students, modifying the science camp modules for the classroom and bringing scientists into the schools.
The day camp sessions were held at the new NOAA Inouye Regional Center on Ford Island. Campers and teachers were given opportunities to practice hands-on science research techniques side-by-side with NOAA scientists. The lessons and activities touched on a wide range of marine science topics including: marine debris tracking; fish stock assessment and modeling; fish life history and dissection; marine food webs; plankton studies; and Hawaiian monk seal foraging research. The camp culminated with a mystery scenario where the students were challenged to use their new-found knowledge to create a research plan to study a never-before-seen species, and use clay to create either a new technology or to imagine how the species might have appeared.
Photo courtesy of NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region