Education Month in Review: April 2023

Sixth grade ROV challenge

By Cristina Reo

April brought longer days and warmer weather. Let’s look at what the education team at the Prince William Sound Science Center got up to during the month of April.

Tuesday Night Talks will return in September of 2023. All talks can be watched on PWSSC’s YouTube Channel under Lecture Series.

  • To usher in the upcoming salmon runs, we held an educational salmon-themed yoga session.
  • We received over 10 submissions for the Stitch Your Science exhibit. These fiber arts pieces will be on display at the Science Center starting May 4. Stop by during business hours to see what the community has been creating.
  • We hosted a film festival featuring nine films focusing on women in the outdoors exploring adventure, conservation, and identity. This was a fundraiser to support the Women in Science scholarship fund which sponsors Cordova girls for science camp. Thank you to all who joined us for a night of fun.
  • We ran several events for children, including two Fun Fridays and a family hike. The hike was at Heney Ridge, where families played games and explored nature. “Otter” Fun Friday was at the beginning of the month, in celebration of “otter month.” Kids created their own educational otter book about foraging habits, otter anatomy, habitat, and more for both river and sea otters. Additionally, kids learned about otters through games and crafts. “Surviving the Wild” Fun Friday focused on outdoor survival skills. Kids learned to tie knots, read maps, use a compass, build a fire, stay bear aware, and more. At the end, they tested their skills in a challenging survival course. Fun Fridays will return in September. In lieu, we will be hosting Discover Cordova once a month (May-August) at various outdoor locations.
  • Our education staff was busy with Discovery Room. The close of the school year is brought forth many of field trips and end-of-year connections:
    1. First grade had two Discovery Rooms in April. The first was about color and light waves. Students created their own color using watercolor paint and discussed how the colors change. With the beautiful weather, we had to go outside! Using an eye for color, they explored nature while looking for colors. To tie together all their Discovery Room lessons, students took a field trip to Odiak Pond, and made a map of the pond using their five senses.
    2. Second graders learned about invertebrates and their adaptations. They learned that, just like the plants that they have been learning about this year, invertebrates also have a life cycle. They made invertebrates out of craft supplies for the shorebird mural that will be on display at the Cordova Center during the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival.
    3. Third grade had two Discovery Room lessons last month focused on birds. The first was a “birder mystery.” Students used the skills they have been working on all year to figure out why a baby bird had died and “who dunnit.” The next Discovery Room was an introduction to shorebirds in preparation for an upcoming field trip. They made two-dimensional shorebirds for our shorebird mural.
    4. Fourth graders took a field trip to the Science Center to meet our researchers and experience a day in the life of a scientist. They looked at plankton under the microscope with Dr. Rob Campbell, searched for birds with avian research assistant Anne Schaefer, and toured the lab with research assistant Jess Pretty. The shorebird mural will feature three-dimensional hanging birds created by this class.
    5. Sixth graders put their hard work to the test in the ROV pool challenge. They’ve been working on ROV’s the past couple of Discovery Rooms and this month they tested how well their designs worked in a five-task series where they moved their ROV’s forward and backwards, through hoops, attached anchor chains, and cleaned up oil spills. See image at top.

The education staff is looking forward to seeing you this May for more events. Check our calendar here.