STS Curriculum

Sound to Sea's Biology, Cultural and Current Events Curriculum Options

Sound to Sea is always excited about the opportunity to teach students more about their natural environment. The hard part about helping students understand science is that a lot of scientific concepts, while interesting to us as educators and environmentalists, seem dry and confusing, and all too often boring, to students.

One of the most wonderful things about outdoor environmental education is that whatever we as educators try to teach, nature can do better. Just being in the habitat which is being discussed makes the subject much more immediate to the students. Working in small groups, Sound to Sea Instructors take a dry, yet important, subject like population dynamics and create a running game where the students take on the part of an animal or its predator. By running around the field, imitating their animal, they learn to understand the factors involved in the growth and decline of animal populations. As one student wrote, "I had so much fun, I didn't even notice I was learning."

And, after 16 years of hard work, and roughly 100,000 student trials, our Sound to Sea Biology Program is kid-tested and judging from evals, teacher-approved. But, we don't choose to rest on our laurels. We've branched out to create some new multi-disciplinary programs that are a great alternative to a straight biology program.

 

Biology Program

All students will participate in the Barrier Island Ecology Course at the same time. Small groups of approximately twelve students together with a Sound to Sea instructor each start in a different habitat area and begin a rotation. This component introduces students to the five habitats (beach/ocean, maritime forest, freshwater pond, salt marsh, and sound/estuary), geological history, basic ecological concepts and general habitat study skills that are reinforced throughout the entire program. Sound to Sea instructors encourage exploration and present various ecological concepts (such as habitats, cycles, communities, populations, species, food webs, decomposition, etc.) as students discover concrete evidence that relates to that concept. As the groups explore each habitat, students observe the differences and make comparisons. The Habitat Study skills may include: observation, measurement, data collection, and analysis and assessment of habitat conditions with respect to soil, air, water, wind, temperature, and human impact; and observation, identification, classification, mapping and representative sampling of species present within the habitat.

 

STS Biology Program Class Descriptions

Sound/Salt Marsh:

Students will focus on the concept of the sound and salt marsh as the nursery of the ocean. They will learn about the adaptations of fish, crabs and various plants that live in the salt marsh. They will find out about the importance of water quality to the sound and salt marsh and learn to do a simple water quality test.

Beach/Ocean:

Students will learn about barrier island formation and movement and that beach erosion is a natural part of that process. They will learn about the adaptations of various animals that live in the subtidal, intertidal and supratidal zones of the beach.

Freshwater Pond:

Students will learn about the importance and rarity of clean, fresh water. They will use the bioscope to get a closer look at the myriad adaptations of water insects and fish. They will learn about pond succession and the amazing qualities of the plants that live around the pond.

Maritime Forest:

Students will learn about the importance of the maritime forest to the various animals that live there. They will learn about the anatomy and adaptations of a maritime forest tree. They will learn about medicinal plants, and perhaps have the chance to eat at the "Outdoor Café" and learn about wild edibles.

Dissection:

Students will focus on the anatomy and physiology of one of our Bogue Sound residents by dissecting either a squid or a fish. In addition we also offer Comparative Anatomy Dissection which compares plant and animal anatomy and physiology.

Challenge Course:

Students will learn that cooperation, teamwork and creative problem-solving techniques can overcome any physical or mental challenge.

Cultural Program

Social Studies and Science are often treated as separate subjects in school, but with our Cultural Program, we'll combine social studies and science. During the habitat classes, students explore the Sound, Salt Marsh, Pond, Beach and Forest, and focus on human interaction with the habitats. We'll explore the three groups of people to inhabit our area (African Americans, Europeans, and Native Americans) and find out how each group experimented with island plants, animals and other materials. Finally, we'll explore how our current culture (that's us!) uses plants, animals and materials native to our island habitat and how we can conserve and protect them. Because of the multi-disciplinary mix of social studies and science, we offer these classes only to groups of students 5th grade and younger.

 

STS Cultural Program Class Descriptions

Sound/Salt Marsh:

Students will focus on human interaction with the various animals and plants in the sound and salt marsh. They will learn about the various methods that early settlers used to catch their dinner. The students will also learn about local fare by collecting animals and plants.

Beach/Ocean:

Students will learn about the biology of whales, the largest animal on earth. They will also learn about the sailor's art of Scrimshaw as they learn how the monsters of the deep were caught and used by humans.

Freshwater Pond:

Students will attempt to create and use primitive fishing and hunting tools. They will learn how archaeologists dig near fresh water to learn about their ancestors, and work on a "model" dig.

Maritime Forest:

Students will learn about tracking and primitive dwellings and create a usable shelter out of found materials.

Dissection:

Students will dissect an animal and/or plant to learn about its anatomy and discover the importance each species to early humans and to our continued survival.

Challenge Course:

Students will learn that cooperation, teamwork and creative problem-solving techniques can overcome any physical or mental challenge.

Current Events Program

The Current Events Program teaches students about the dangers of the loss of biodiversity to human health and gives them a chance to learn about population growth, climate change, air and water quality, waste disposal and energy consumption in fun and engaging ways. We want students to understand that everything they throw away goes somewhere and that every action they take affects something else. We want them to know what they can do to conserve our environment, and in doing so, our way of life. But most importantly, after learning about the threats to our global environment, we want students to feel empowered, not afraid. Because of the complex and scientific nature of this program, we are offer these classes only to groups of students 6th grade and older.

 

STS Current Events Program Class Descriptions

Sound/Salt Marsh:

Students will focus on water quality and wetlands restoration. By conducting water tests, they will get first hand experience with the scientific method. Their information will be put on the Internet, and used by professional scientists. The students will also study the diversity of wetlands by collecting animals and plants.

Beach/Ocean:

Students will learn about beach renourishment or beach fill, dune erosion and the effects these processes have on coastal residents and offshore water quality.

Freshwater Pond:

Students will learn about the importance and rarity of clean, fresh water. They will use animals and plants collected in the pond to create a miniature ecosystem, and discuss sustainable aquaculture.

Maritime Forest:

Students will study the effects of clear cutting and investigate the importance of biodiversity.

Dissection:

Students will dissect a fish to learn about its life cycle and discover how pollution affects fish populations. They will learn why coastal fisheries are in danger.

Challenge Course:

Students will learn that cooperation, teamwork and creative problem-solving techniques can overcome any physical or mental challenge.