Rhode Island teachers invited to join May expedition aboard research vessel Endeavor

Educators in a survival suit training exercise
Educators in a survival suit training exercise aboard the Endeavor, a research vessel operated by URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Photo by Lynne Butler.
NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – Feb. 16, 2016 – It’s often said that the best way to learn is to do. The University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography is offering the state’s teachers a hands-on learning experience that takes them out of the classroom to the ocean blue.

Educators from kindergarten through college are invited to apply to sail aboard the GSO’s ocean-going research vessel Endeavor.

Eight to ten berths are available for a trip from Friday to Sunday, May 27 through 29. The teachers will work alongside GSO scientists on the 185-foot ship, towing a plankton net, collecting water samples, using oceanographic research instruments and conducting experiments in the “wet lab.” They’ll also celebrate the ocean’s vast beauty.

As an added benefit, the ship will be equipped with Telepresence technology to allow educators to communicate via satellite directly with students in their classrooms.

The Rhode Island Teacher-at-Sea program was started more than a decade ago as part of the Rhode Island Endeavor Program, a state-funded effort to provide URI researchers and local educators with access to the scientific research and educational opportunities of an ocean-going research vessel.

For years, space on the R/V Endeavor was limited to two or three teachers. Last year, GSO expanded participation to give more educators an opportunity to sign up and learn about the physics, chemistry, biology and chemistry of the sea.

“We want to expose as many educators as possible to marine science research,” says Maryann Scholl, program coordinator. “We have so many concerns today—climate change, ocean acidification, sea level rise. It’s important for educators to understand these issues and convey that knowledge to their students and the general public.”

In the past, most of the participants have been science teachers, but the program has also attracted social studies teachers, including one who was over the moon when he journeyed several years ago to the North Carolina coast to observe the USS Monitor, a Civil War warship. “I’d love to find an art teacher,” says Scholl.

Since its christening in 1976, the Endeavor has embarked on more than 500 scientific cruises, here and far away, off Block Island as well as the Galapagos Islands in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Click here for more information on the RITAS program
To apply for a spot on the 2016 cruise, educators can visit  Rhode Island Teacher-At-Sea.

For more information, contact Maryann Scholl at 401-874-6500 or mscholl@uri.edu. The application deadline, which includes a short essay, is March 15. There is no fee to apply.