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Course    Descriptions

Numbers listed in parentheses indicate ages for each class; letters indicate the session(s).

SEASHORE LIFE (7-8) A, B, AB Students will explore and study the flora and fauna of the seashore, including dunes, marshes, beaches and shallow water. Activities may include setting up aquaria, experiments, art projects and collections. The six-week version of the course will allow for a more in-depth study of seashore life communities.

COMPARATIVE HABITATS (8-9) AB This six-week course will explore the salt and fresh water habitats of Woods Hole by looking closely at fish, birds, insects and crustaceans. Students will learn to identify common species and discuss how they thrive in varied environments including estuaries, salt marshes, ponds and lakes. Students will study the properties of water and the impact of humans on coastal ecosystems.

WOODS, PONDS, AND FIELDS (8-9) A, B Students will observe the local habitats of terrestrial plants and animals through outdoor activities and classroom tanks. They may make collections of plants, insects and other natural objects. Separate units will introduce students to botany, entomology, herpetology, geology and limnology.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (8-9) A, B Have you ever wondered why certain animals live where they do, or behave in particular ways? Through collection, observation and experimentation, this course will study habits and habitats of local animals.

MARINE BIOLOGY (9-10) A, B, AB This is a diverse field-oriented course in which students will visit rocky, sandy and marshy ecosystems to study and collect the major groups of animals and plants of the ocean. In the classroom, students will observe marine organisms in tanks and under the microscope. The class will include a squid dissection. The six-week version will study these areas in greater depth.

ECOLOGY OF THE BIKE PATH (9-10) A, B Bicyclists will study the ecology and geology of the unique aquatic and upland ecosystems along the Shining Sea Bike Path. There will be daily rides with weekly driving field trips to visit more distant destinations. Participants must provide their own bicycles and helmets and be comfortable riding for several miles.

BOTANY (10-11) A Studying plants opens our understanding of the environment. In botany, we collect and identify local plant species, and learn about their importance in the ecosystem. Through experiments, microscopy, dissection and field-work, students gain a hands on appreciation for botanical concepts and the dynamic role that plants play in the world around us.

GEOLOGY OF CAPE COD (10-11) B Students will be introduced to the geological history of Cape Cod. The course will focus on such topics as Cape Cod’s rock record and history, fossils, soil and water. Laboratory modeling and fieldwork will help students examine the changes in the environment over past geological periods.

CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHY (10-11) A Students in this class will learn about the chemical properties of sea water such as salinity, temperature and pH. They may investigate how changes to ocean chemistry due to natural processes (such as biological activity or geology) or human activities (such as pollution) may impact both marine and terrestrial life.

PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY (10-11) B This class will focus on the physical processes within the ocean such as wave formation, tides, gyres and global ocean circulation. Students may investigate the impact of these processes on beach profiles, coastal erosion and phenomena such as the “Pacific plastic garbage patch”. They will learn about the ocean-atmosphere relationship and its importance to weather and climate across the globe.

ICHTHYOLOGY (11-12) AB In this class, students will learn to fish using different baits and lures, as well as by setting traps and using seines. They will study the characteristics of species found in local North Atlantic and freshwater habitats, including their diverse forms and survival strategies.

INVERTEBRATES (11-12) A, AB Invertebrates dominate the animal world.  They include organisms such as sponges, cnidarians, worms, echinoderms, mollusks and arthropods. This hands-on class will survey the diversity of invertebrate phyla and explore the evolutionary relationships between these groups. Students will study internal and external anatomy, reproduction and feeding through observation of live specimens, dissection and field trips to local ecosystems.  We will also investigate aspects of their behavior through detailed observation and design of experiments in the classroom.

ENTOMOLOGY (11-12) A Did you know that there are 900,000 known species of insects in the world and probably as many not yet known? Why are they so successful?  We will investigate the curious and beautiful world of insects through the collection and classification of living specimens.  We will study their morphology, habitats and learn about their important role in human survival.

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (12-13) B This course will focus on ecosystems around Woods Hole and human impacts on those systems.  We will explore physical, chemical and biological aspects of both aquatic and terrestrial habitats.  By collecting samples and taking measurements, we will see how humans are impacting local ecosystems and discuss how these impacts could be lessened.

INTRODUCTION TO FILM PHOTOGRAPHY (12-13) A Welcome to photography! In this 3 week class we will learn how to use a film camera, understand the science behind photography, composition, and printing photos in the dark room. This class will introduce the balance of light and time, developing film and printing photos. We will explore how to artistically capture nature through our lens. Students must provide their own, tested and working, SLR film camera; space is limited to 10 students. Materials Fee: $30

NAUTICAL SCIENCE (12-13) A Explore boat design and build a seaworthy model boat, learn to navigate by chart and compass, experiment with the principles of buoyancy and displacement, and delve into nautical terminology and practical seamanship.  Classes will take trips to the working waterfront and through Woods Hole Passage.

EMBRYOLOGY (12-13) B During development, a single cell will divide and produce many different cell types with different shapes and jobs. How does this happen? How long does it take?  This course will introduce and explore the changes and stages of embryonic development in organisms through collection and microscopic research.

ADVANCED OCEANOGRAPHY (12-13) B Students in this course will have an opportunity to explore research currently and historically done at the scientific institutions in Woods Hole. Multiple boat trips, visits to labs, presentations by local scientists, and hands-on experiments will enhance the experience of the young oceanographers.

ROBOTICS/ROVs (13-15) A Students will focus on the technical, economic, and environmental aspects of real world marine engineering and electronics. Through frequent field trips to Woods Hole labs, project design, and data analysis, students will explore principles such as buoyancy, propulsion and energy.  Students will build a functional remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Materials Fee: $40.

FILM PHOTOGRAPHY (13-16) A+, AB Discover the science behind the unique, creative qualities of black and white film photography. In this intensive 4-6 week class, students will review the basic principles of photography including the balance of light and time, composition, and darkroom procedures for developing and printing film. Students must provide their own tested and working SLR film camera; space is limited to 12 students.  Materials Fee: $60.

ADVANCED MARINE BIOLOGY (14-16) A+, AB Through hands-on exposure, students will delve into the biology and ecology of marine vertebrates and invertebrates, their evolution and classification, anatomy and physiology, and behaviors and habitats. This course will include snorkeling field trips to different ecosystems around Woods Hole.  Students must provide their own mask, snorkel and fins.  A swim test will be administered requiring students to swim 50 ft and tread water for 2 minutes.

EXPERIMENTS IN WOODS HOLE (14-16) A For more than a century, Woods Hole has been an international center for research, education and training in biology and ocean sciences.  This class will introduce students to the diversity of research done in Woods Hole through trips to working labs and classroom visits from research scientists .  Students will also have an opportunity to design and conduct their own experiments.

BIOLOGICAL ILLUSTRATION (14-16) B Illustration can be a useful and beautiful method of recording information.  In this class we will become familiar with basic techniques of biological illustration, while examining the structure, anatomy and function of local organisms.  This course will also compare historically important methods of illustration with modern techniques such as photomicrographs and data-based animations.

MICROBIAL LIFE (14-16) B Microbes profoundly impact our external environment as well as our personal biome. Learn about the strange and fascinating world of bacteria, protists and fungi through microscopic observation and experimentation both in the classroom and in various Woods Hole ecosystems.