Outer Islands students get together in Bangor, learn about Exploration

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IRW was in bustling downtown Bangor on October 22 to meet up with the Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Consortium (TLC) – outer island students and teachers (and chaperones) who come onto the mainland for 2-3 days for an immersion excursion. This year the theme has been exploration and space exploration.

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Who better than Dr. Karen James from the MDI Bio Lab to present, as she is U.S. Director of the H.M.S. Beagle (?), has experience with the astronaut training program, AND is very involved in Citizen Science in and around MDI (Mount Desert Island) and Acadia.

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Having just seen kids on three of the islands the week before with a visiting author, it felt like old-home week. We had a great visit despite Dr. James being absent due to an earthbound (bedbound) fever.

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Thankfully, IRW staff had come with her Powerpoint in hand and plenty of the pre-organized activities ready to share. Island teachers had definitely done some great background work since many of the students knew facts about the animals Darwin discovered (great fascination with tortoises, iguanas, and finches, oh my!), and where he discovered them (they could all easily pronounce Galapagos). The slides were almost speaking prompts for the students to tell us the story of Darwin, which is always most satisfying when they have studied and are excited by the content.

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During hands-on time, we focused on a simulation of discovery in the field that allowed students (K-8) to “discover” an animal in one of the many books of photos we brought, and practice their observation skills.

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The older kids were more detailed in documenting as if it were a real scientific log with their name, time, place, weather conditions etc. All students were able to create pictures that were ABCD: Accurate, Big, Colorful (and Correct) and Detailed.

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We are thrilled to be a part of Outer Islands TLC gatherings, where islands students get together to learn, enjoy each others’ company, and share a love of learning!


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