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 25 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.

Click on the tabs for info about each 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.

Sound to Sea Evening Program Descriptions

Survival on the Coast:

Emphasizes the connection between social studies and science with demonstrations of skills used by coastal Native Americans and later cultures. This outdoor or indoor program is suitable for groups of all sizes.

First in Flight:

Showcases our live birds of prey with additional stations covering the history of flight in NC, properties of air, mechanics of flight, bird beak and raptor adaptations. This outdoor or indoor program is suitable for groups of all sizes.

Challenge Night:

Features large group activities designed to enhance group self-esteem and cooperation. This outdoor or indoor program is best suited for groups of 70 or less students, 5th grade or older (please let us know about any previous group-building activities.)

Underground Railroad:

Habitat study groups, acting as escaped slaves, recreate the flight to freedom during the pre-Civil War time period. This outdoor program is best suited for 36 or more students and requires a back-up plan in case of rain. A minimum of 5-10 chaperones (depending on your group size) will role-play various characters on the Underground Railroad.

Beach Walk/Turtle Talk:

Casual yet informative. Students study our endangered sea turtles and the night creatures of the beach/dune area. This outdoor program is best suited for 60 or less students and requires a back-up plan in case of rain.

Town Meeting:

A mock town meeting allows each habitat study group to represent an interested party in a local beach development issue. This program is best suited for 60 or less students that are 5th grade or older

Outer Banks Stories and Sing-a-Long:

We'll intersperse fun songs and stories of our maritime heritage and perhaps we'll finish with a Carolina Ghost Story. This outdoor or indoor program is best suited for any size group of 5th grade or younger students.

Pirates:

Discovering myths and facts about pirates and privateers, students use problem solving skills to determine whether or not the recently-found wreck in Beaufort Inlet is Blackbeard's ship the Queen Anne's Revenge. This outdoor or indoor program is best suited for groups of 48 or less students.

Whales and Whalers:

New hands-on experiments showcase the amazing ways whales adapt to life in the ocean. Students will be astonished by the sheer size of these animals when they meet our life-sized inflatable Right Whale. Learn about NC's historical shore-based whaling culture and practice the skills needed for this dangerous profession. This outdoor or indoor program is good for any sized group, 6th grade or younger.

Night Hike:

Small group experiments and activities illuminate the wonders of night vision and our nocturnal neighbors. This outdoor program is best suited for 60 or less students and requires a back-up plan in case of rain. This program is only available from mid-November to mid-March (when the time changes and it is dark after dinner.)

The GLOBE Program at Sound to Sea

(Global Observations and Learning to Benefit the Environment)

Sound to Sea works in conjunction with GLOBE (Global learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) to teach the need for good water quality and how quality of the water (including salinity, dissolved oxygen, phosphates, pH and turbidity) affects the beings that live in it.

With our help in connecting the impact of upland activities to the quality of water in estuarine systems, these students will be more able to understand their own role in protecting the watershed. They will also find out the importance of science and good math to societal issues.

We have been adding data to the GLOBE Internet Database since 1999. Students returning home from our program have been able to access the Internet and realize that they are part of an on going investigation into global change. We also impress on our students the fact that scientists all over the world are using their data to measure global effects of things like deforestation, El Niño and La Niña.

Link to GLOBE: www.globe.gov