Engineering at Marine Science Camp: A BayLines Original Article
Every year, the Marine Science Institute is eager to greet both new and returning students to our summer programs in an effort to foster their growing interest in marine science. We offer familiar fun such as a scientific expedition aboard our research vessel, opportunities to touch marine life and theme-based hands-on lessons, as well as new material and activities. It is especially important for us to incorporate new curricula and themes each summer. The Marine Science Camp summer option for middle schoolers, called Underwater Investigators, has a different theme and focus each year so that the subject matter is fresh, current and exciting for all of our summer participants.
Summer 2017 will surely inspire 6th-8th graders to problem-solve, and develop and test ideas. The new theme for Underwater Investigators for Marine Science Camp 2017 is Engineering in Marine Science. Campers will explore the connection between ocean engineering and marine biology. The action-packed week has campers canoeing through local sloughs, exploring physical and behavioral animal adaptations, and developing various structures and equipment to investigate ocean-focused environmental engineering. Their exciting week will end with an overnight trip aboard our research vessel.
Underwater Investigators will be exposed to engineering innovations in the ocean environment, learn about environmental issues and work to develop responsible solutions that will lead to sustainability of ocean life and resources. Campers will analyze how ocean engineering has enabled oceanographers and marine biologists to travel farther offshore, dive deeper into the sea, develop instruments and technology suited to withstand the harsh ocean environment, and solve problems to improve the lives of humans and marine animals.
In one activity, campers will create a mock oil spill and develop ways to clean it up through hands-on testing of various materials. They will be able to alter and adjust their designs, ultimately comparing their methods with those developed and used by ocean engineers. In another model—and—test station, campers will discuss ship design and create their own floating vessel. They will be tasked with creating a load-bearing ship and will work in teams to create a ship that can carry the most weight. The middle schoolers will also catch plankton (living plant and animal organisms that make up the base of the food web), discuss adaptations for floating, and create their own neutrally buoyant plankton. Other activities in which they discuss engineering and design include deploying a giant seine net off the beach, and a variety of activities during their overnight on our research vessel.
With climate change and human impact on resources being such a large focus within marine science, younger generations are encouraged to be innovative thinkers and designers to improve ocean health. Middle schoolers at Marine Science Camp will examine, question and test solutions to solve problems for the wonders across the seas. We look forward to encouraging energy and imagination of Underwater Investigators into the engineering design process.
Check our Marine Science Camp page for all Marine Science Camp 2017 dates!