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Students investigate wrack lines, measure fish while learning the scientific method

How do you measure a fish?

What items can be found in a wrack line? What is a wrack line?

How many animals live in a tidepool?

Students investigate these questions and more through real life, hands-on, field research when learning the process of science through our Scientific Method Combo program.

This multiple-exposure program combines a field trip and two in-class visits (“Inland Voyages”) giving students an in-depth, thorough look at the components of the scientific method.

“(It was) good to see the scientific method brought into the real world,” according to a Northern Light School teacher, who particularly liked how students identified and measured the fish they caught while on the Discovery Voyage.

Each exposure builds upon the previous one deepening the students understanding and creating opportunities for cross-cutting between the concepts. Teachers select from three habitats – “Discovery Voyage on the San Francisco Bay”, “Marsh and Beach Exploration of Pescadero Beach” or “Tidepool Expedition at Pillar Point” – to conduct their research project.

During the first in-class visit, students are introduced to the scientific method. They learn about a habitat, observe live animals and artifacts from that habitat, form a question, and create a hypothesis. Students then learn the skills needed to collect scientific data pertaining to their hypothesis. For example, students participating in a Marsh and Beach Exploration will learn what a wrack line is and create a hypothesis pertaining to what they expect to find in a wrack line. A wrack line is the material cast up onto the beach by surf, tides and winds.

During the field trip, the students collect their own data, which will be analyzed during their last in-class visit.

“Great lesson! The students were really able to connect things they knew (like) bar graphs with the hands-on data they personally collected. The program was great exposure to the scientific method. The students really enjoyed all parts of this trip! Thank you!” from a 4th-grade Los Cerritos Elementary teacher, whose students participated in a Marsh and Beach Expedition.

To learn more about our Scientific Method Combo program or to book your program, please visit Marine Science Institute’s mission is to inspire respect and stewardship for the marine environment through experiential learning. All Marine Science Institute programs are aligned to NGSS Standards, and provide opportunities for cross-cutting between concepts. A variety of school programs are offered for pre-kindergarten thru college. To learn more click here:

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