Kids at Sea

by Mariette DiChristina

EEE-RUNCH!The fat blowfish chomped through the seashell like it was a potato chip.

"AAAAGGGGHHHH!" screamed 64 sixth-graders from Munsey Park School in Manhasset, N.Y. They were aboard Capt. Fred Robert's Yankee III boat in the Great South Bay of Long Island. A crewman had held up the blowfish, which hed dragged up from the sea bottom, to show that some fish are dangerous.

A few grown-ups, parents, teachers, and a marine biologist were onboard to help out and field questions, but on this trip, the kids did the science. They collected samples, studied them, and discussed them with fellow scientists (the other kids).

"Being a scientist isn't boring at all - it's cool", said Matthew Belz.

The students made plankton tows to collect tiny animals and plants from the water. Grown-up ocean scientists use special gear to gather plankton, but the kids made tows out of stuff you can find at home.

After dragging the tows through the water, the group hauled them aboard and discovered all kinds of interesting stuff. "I learned without knowing it because it was so fun", said Kathryn Masterson.

Ocean Planet Exhibition Floorplan

gene carl feldman ( (301) 286-9428
Judith Gradwohl, Smithsonian Institution (Curator/Ocean Planet)