One of my favorite parts of teaching with the MSC Outreach Program is seeing all the excited faces when I tell students that they get to meet the tidepool animals. It doesn’t matter how much the students knew about the ocean already, they were ready to learn even more.
In the past six months, over 1000 Lynn students were able to see the tidepool critters that live at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center (NUMSC). During the winter months of January, February, and March, staff and interns from the MSC Outreach Program brought the traveling touch tank tidepool critters to six of Lynn’s elementary schools. Students learned about the zone between the low and high tide, AKA the intertidal zone, and the animals that live there. Then, they actually got to meet these animals! After all the programs we led, I found that the favorite among the students was usually the moon snail, a large, slimey snail that left traces of goo on one’s hand
In total for the winter traveling touch tank programs, we visited 695 students. It was amazing that we were able to show 695 kids the funny-looking underside of the horseshoe crab and the tube feet of the sea star and so many other fascinating things about the tidepool animals. Some of the 3rd graders from Cobbet Elementary School even sent some thank you cards to the MSC! They drew pictures of the lobster, and the horseshoe crab, and the moon snail! It was delightful to see how much the students appreciated us coming to their school!
For the much warmer month of June, students from Marshall Middle School and Pickering Middle School came to visit the MSC! On campus here, they were able to learn about the intertidal zone and the animals that live there, but also actually go out onto the rocks to observe them using scientific tools. It warmed my heart to see some of these kids light up with joy when they found an Asian shore crab on their own, or when they pushed aside some seaweed to find a little sea anemone hidden underneath. The kids also got to learn a little about the history of Nahant as well as the surrounding areas on the tour of East Point and Lodge Park. The view from the top of the hill is absolutely breathtaking, and the kids truly enjoyed it.
After all six months of teaching, a total of 1,338 students from Lynn were able to meet the critters of the tidepools. Teaching these students about the rocky shore wouldn’t be possible without the generous funding provided by the Friends of Lynn and Nahant Beach, and the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation. A huge thank you to these organizations for allowing the students to be exposed to such a fascinating environment.
Written by Lisa Wu