NOAA Fisheries recently held a first annual Science Camp at the NOAA Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center (IRC). The camp hosted 60 middle school students as well as six teachers from schools around the island of Oahu. The target audience was eighth grade students from public and charter schools, with an emphasis on reaching under-represented students. The students were divided into two groups of 30 for each of two sessions.
The two-day camp featured six science modules focused on marine debris, fisheries stock assessment, fish life history, marine food webs, marine plankton and Hawaiian monk seals. NOAA and JIMAR scientists conducted activities in the IRC building and labs, providing the students with unique hands-on experiences. They also exposed campers to the diversity of backgrounds and career fields represented at NOAA Fisheries.
The second day of camp featured a mystery scenario where the students were challenged to use their new-found knowledge to create a research plan to study a never-before-seen species. In addition, the groups used clay to create either a new technology or to imagine how the species might have appeared. From the campers’ post evaluations, it was evident that they enjoyed the camp and absorbed quite a bit of the information presented, especially from the fish dissection and marine plankton modules. The teachers provided valuable assistance with the student subgroups as well as feedback on the presentations, activities and materials.