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Lobster Curriculum


Lobster Literacy

Photo by Carla Eutsler

Over the years, TLC scientists and volunteers have participated in an informal education program by giving presentations at public forums and schools. To formalize our education program in 2002 we launched a Lobster Literacy Program. The overall goal of the program is to increase students' environmental literacy, particularly with regard to lobsters and the marine environment. Our program has several components including classroom projects, an education center, and presentations to schools and other groups.

Lobster Larvae in the Classroom
TLC's first Lobster Larvae in the Classroom program was a resounding success. In May of 2002, TLC Educators Dan O'Grady and Linda Archambault helped students in Carla Eutsler's 5th and 6th grade science classes at Friendship Village School raise lobsters from hatching to settlement. In the process students learned about lobster biology and the marine environment. They participated directly in the aquaculture of lobsters by monitoring the water quality in the lobster raising tanks, raising brine shrimp to feed the lobster larvae, and identifying the larval stages as they grew. These budding scientists had plenty of opportunities to hone their observation skills by watching and writing about the recently settled lobsters in the aquarium.

Dan and Linda directed activities on microscope theory and use, marine food webs, nutrient cycling in the ocean, and reproductive strategies of marine organisms.

TLC's education program, "Lobster Larvae in the Classroom," gave students at the Friendship Village School great opportunities to develop their observational and scientific skills (photo by Carla Eustler).

They also led a field trip to the intertidal zone. In a program presented by Sarah Gladu and Emily Kuhnlein of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, students learned about the important role of phytoplankton in the marine ecosystem. A visit from TLC scientist Diane Cowan introduced the students to lobster reproductive biology. Teacher Carla Eutsler developed art and writing projects that reinforced students’ learning about lobsters and the marine environment.

Students created panoramas illustrating what they had learned about lobsters and the marine environment. (Photo by Sara Ellis).

Parents and community members had a chance to view the products of the project at an Open House on June 10, 2002. The recently settled little lobsters will ultimately be moved to TLC’s Lobster Life Studies Center then tagged and released. They are currently being maintained at TLC’s Lobster House.
The collaboration between TLC scientists and FVS teacher Carla Eutsler was very rewarding for all involved. Carla plans to repeat the project in 2003 with her 5th graders. We look forward to working with her again. In 2003, the project will also be brought to students at Vinalhaven School and at the King Middle School in Portland. Many thanks to MBNA for funding this wonderful project. Thanks also to Brian Tarbox of Southern Maine Technical College for providing the first round of larval lobsters and for technical expertise on rearing lobsters. Check out some newspaper articles about the Lobster Larvae in the Classroom project on TLC’s press page.

Developing a Lobster Curriculum
TLC has recently received funding to enlist interested teachers from coastal Maine to work with us in developing a multi-disciplinary Lobster Literacy Curriculum for Maine students. We plan to hold a teacher retreat April 12 and 13, 2003. At the retreat, TLC scientists will present the essential lobster science information and demonstrate the Lobster Larvae in the Classroom project. TLC scientists will then work with teachers to outline curriculum materials. Participants will be assigned to develop parts of the curriculum in the months after the retreat. The products of this collaboration will be a teacher’s guide, student workbook, and classroom project kit that meet the state’s Learning Results guidelines. We plan to distribute the curriculum materials through the Internet and continue to work directly with teachers and students participating in the Lobster Larvae in the Classroom project. By making a lobster literacy curriculum available to Maine students we wish to foster an increased knowledge about the fundamentals of lobster biology, encourage an increased appreciation for the lobster’s role in the history, culture, and economy of the Gulf of Maine, and inspire a sense of stewardship of our natural resources. Stay tuned for further developments from this exciting collaborative project. Check out out list of resources.

Lobster Learning Center
Thanks to Island Institute fellow Dan O'Grady and a grant from MBNA our property at Little Morse Island is being transformed into the Lobster Learning Center. This facility will include indoor and outdoor classrooms where teachers, school children and community groups can become involved in hands-on education and research. This past summer, Dan oversaw many improvements to the building and grounds. Eventually we plan to have an Education Coordinator living at the pound from May through September to host school and community groups and give them a first-hand look at TLC's research and teach them about the lobster life cycle and the marine environment.

The classroom building and wharf at Little Morse Island (photo by Dan O'Grady).

We used the facility twice for education purposes in 2002. In August, students from Hurricane Island Outward Bound School traveled to Little Morse Island in two pulling boats. As part of a service-learning project they cleaned up the periphery of the pound in return for lessons on lobster biology and research.

Hurricane Island Outward Bound students help with clean-up at the Lobster Learning Center (photo by Linda Archambault).

Later that month Dan O’Grady and Linda Archambault wowed a group of children visiting from Warren School Age Child Care with a presentation on the lobster life cycle.

For information about any of TLC’s education programs, please contact education coordinator, Linda Archambault.

©2003 The Lobster Conservancy.
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