Robert F. Edmunds Jr. and Mary Louise Edmunds Grant: Learning Floats Our Boat!
- School Year: 2023-2024
- Applicants: Sharon Zajack, Lead Applicant and Jennifer Russell, Courtney Stangle
- School: Smith
- Subjects: Science, Social Studies, Technology
Onboard the 40-foot schooner, SoundWaters, Smith STEM third graders gain first-hand experience with a multitude of science and engineering concepts studied in their classrooms. Students embark on a 2-hour educational voyage in Long Island Sound, an Estuary of National Significance. Here they gain a greater appreciation for the diversity of wildlife in a local coastal ecosystem and an improved understanding of their "place in space" as citizens of West Hartford and Connecticut. During the sail, students identify the structural elements of the schooner, their functions, and how they allow the boat to capture wind energy and movement. Students conduct water tests and observe plant and animal life that typically aren't encountered on a regular trip to Connecticut beaches. Collecting and observing zooplankton, tiny but mighty microscopic organisms vital to food webs throughout the world, is a particularly awe-inspiring event. This educational excursion brings real-life context, a deeper understanding, and an identifiable purpose for learning in the classroom each day.