Friday, October 14, 2016
For Immediate Release
Massachusetts Marine Educators’ Boston Harbor Educators Conference Changed the Tide for 21st Century Learners
On October 1st, 2016, Massachusetts Marine Educators’ (MME) annual Boston Harbor Educators Conference, Celebrating Boston Harbor: Changing the Tide for 21st Century Learners, was attended by teachers from across the state as well as the Museum Institute for Teaching Science (MITS). Participants were able to build professional connections while gaining insight into uses of Boston Harbor as an educational resource.
The day began with keynote speaker Giles Parker, Superintendent of Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, who discussed the history and expansion of National Parks and highlighted how the National Park Service (NPS) strives to keep protected lands in the forefront of American culture. For example, the #FindYourPark initiative celebrates 100 years of the National Park Service by prompting citizens to locate their local park and share their experiences as inspirational stories on social media.
Liza Stearns, Director of Education at NPS of Boston, began her keynote, Engaging Youth & Community through Place-based Service Learning, by briefing the audience on the use of field locations to enhance learning outcomes. Stearns described how National Parks of Boston is working with Boston Public School teachers and community partners to develop experiential, place-based programming celebrating Boston’s Harbor Islands. She encouraged participants to identify and share ways the NPS might better implement local and collaborative K-12 place-based programming. More information about this presentation is available on the MME website.
Workshops highlighted marine science topics – oceanography, climatology, coastal development, and resource management. Educational Passages, a project based in Maine that educates youth about ocean sciences, inspired teachers to engage students by designing miniature sailboat “drifters” with oceanographic monitoring tools. Teachers learned to tell the story of climate change using comic tiles, and then they got their feet wet with ocean engineering activities in a workshop led by the New England Aquarium. Sea Education Association, leader in undergraduate ocean education, compared environmental impacts of long-term versus short-term shoreline development and reviewed methods to mitigate effects of erosion and pollution. Middle school teacher, Kathryn Buckley, taught us how to use cod population data estimates to calculate expected economic outcomes of cod fishing, and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority presented “Dwayne the Storm Drain” activities that teach children about stormwater management systems.
By the end of the day, conferees had acquired a greater appreciation of Boston Harbor, its rich history, and the many resources it provides to educators and the community. Educators who attended will bring the science and history of Boston Harbor back to their classrooms in creative, engaging ways.
The Museum Institute for Teaching Science specializes in providing hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based STEM professional development for formal and informal educators. For more information, visit www.mits.org or call 617-328-1515.