Sound to Sea Curriculum Overview
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.
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.
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.
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.