NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
July 26 – August 8, 2013
Mission: Shark and Red snapper Longline Survey
Geographical Range of Cruise: Atlantic
Date: Monday August 12, 2013
Weather Data from the Bridge
Sadly, I don’t know because I’m not there anymore.
I have been back on land for three days now and all I want to talk about are my adventures aboard the Oregon II. I miss everyone I met and hope that we all remain friends. But now that I am not in the moment and experiencing the adrenaline rush of handling sharks, I have time to think about all that I have learned and how I will make this experience valuable to my students. Because, while it was a true honor and privilege to have been aboard the Oregon II for two weeks, the real honor and privilege of my life is spending 10 months with students of Baltimore City Public Schools. And they matter the most right now.
I begin school in two weeks. Two weeks from now I will be standing in my classroom setting up what I hope to be a remarkable year of learning with 40 or so 7th graders and 40 or so 8th graders. Just picturing their faces coming through the door and the hugs and the squeals of delight as we get excited about seeing each other makes me the happiest version of myself.
So what am I going to do with this experience? How will I make two of the most meaningful weeks of my life meaningful for kids who were not involved? How will I make what was mine, theirs?
Those are the questions that bounce around in my head all of the time now. No amount of blog writing and sharing pictures on Facebook matters if I don’t do this justice to those kids. And in the meantime, I would really like to make the people who made this possible proud. From the NOAA employees who run Teacher at Sea to the crew and scientists on the Oregon II to the volunteers who cheered me on and supported me to my parents who watched my dog, I want to make them proud.
So the brainstorming begins and this is where it starts. Over the course of the cruise, I kept track of our latitude and longitude at 11am each day and at each of our stations. During a 1-2 week unit during my Ecosystems In and Out of Balance semester of study, we will be using the research from my cruise to celebrate Shark Week – Armistead Gardens Style. We will begin by plotting the course of the Oregon II from July 26 to August 8. We will study the written descriptions of the shark species I encountered and see if we can match them with pictures. We will hypothesize how the flow of energy works in the marine ecosystems where these sharks are found – will the students guess that some of the big sharks eat some of the little sharks? I didn’t know that. Then we will begin to study what struggles these species encounter in an out-of-balance ecosystem – things like fishing and hypoxia and oil spills.
Beyond the marine science, we will look at who makes marine science possible. I cannot wait to share with these students the opportunities that abound in marine careers, from becoming a scientist like Kristin to driving a ship like Rachel.
This is just a beginning and I look forward to sharing the final product as I continue to develop it.
Thank you so much to everyone who followed my adventure. Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible. I will not let you down.
Animals Seen Over Two Weeks
Atlantic Sharpnose Shark
Black Sea Bass