By Janee Law
With the ocean breeze on their faces and the smell of salt water in the air, sixth graders at Northport Middle School had the opportunity to learn about oceanography and hydrology outside of the classroom during the Great South Bay Investigation field trip from last week.
Field trip advisors Christine Maki Carroll and Patrick Paresti split the class into three different teams per day: blue, gold and white. Carroll, a seventh grade science teacher, said this is the second time the school hosted the field trip. A total of 228 students attended this year.
Each day, teams were split up into two groups and alternated between visiting the Fire Island Lighthouse, or stepping aboard the Yankee III boat.
“While half of them were at Fire Island learning about the history of Fire Island and the history of the lighthouse, the other half were on the boat and they were dissecting a squid, looking at zooplankton and phytoplankton under a microscope,” Carroll said. “Many of the kids have not been to the Fire Island Lighthouse, climbed the lighthouse, or have not been on a boat or dissected a squid.”
In addition to the hands-on experience, students learned the history and environments of Long Island, the history of shipwrecks and the lighthouse barrio beaches on Long Island and had the opportunity to fish.
Carroll said the group caught a fluke, a sea bass and a searobin.
She added, “They were very excited and thought it was a wonderful trip.”
The goal of the trip is to help students gain an appreciation for the island and for the curriculum they will be learning this school year, Carroll said, bringing the experience outside of the classroom.