Class 6's Science Adventures in Cape Cod


Earlier this month, Chapin's Class 6 boarded a bus and headed to Cape Cod to embark on an exciting scientific adventure! The four-day trip, a Middle School tradition, was focused on scientific exploration, specifically oceanography, marine ecology and women in S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). While making memories and bunking in seaside cabins with their classmates, the students participated in a variety of hands-on activities that reinforced these areas of focus that they've studied in Science.

During their first day on the Cape, the group visited the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute where they toured the docks, visited the Marine Life Laboratory Touch Tanks (where they could touch and feel real marine creatures), and learned about the education and career of a woman in S.T.E.A.M., mechanical engineer Kaitlyn Tradd.

The following day, the students took a trip to the Nauset Light Beach on Cape Cod's national seashore to explore the topic of coastal vulnerability. They walked along the coast, measuring the width of beach zones and recording their slope and elevation, taking samples of sediment, and evaluating the erosion potential of the site. Using this data, the young scientists were able to make predictions about how the coast's ecosystems will respond to the effects of climate change - including rising sea levels and increased storm frequency/intensity.

The group also paid a visit to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy. There they enjoyed a presentation by PhD candidate Megan Winton, who shared stories of her research and experience working in marine fisheries and presented some of the common misconceptions about women who work in her field. As she explained how her research team tracks and analyzes the white shark movement off the coast of Cape Cod, the students followed along in their seats with their very own inflatable sharks!

To conclude their trip, the students explored salt marshes and tidal flats at the Audubon Wellfleet Bay, took a ride on the Albatross fishing boat, and spent some quiet time creating nature journals at Sesuit Harbor. They returned to Chapin excited to have learned more about S.T.E.A.M. and eager to share stories of their adventures with their family and friends.

During a recent class breakfast in the Gordon Room, the Class 6 students enthusiastically discussed their favorite parts of the trip:

"I loved staying at the Cape Cod Sea Camps! There was a sandbar behind our cabins and it was the prettiest place I've ever seen!"

"It was fun staying in the cabins because I got to spend time with girls I hadn't really spent time with before."

"My favorite part was the 'blind walk' we did at the sand bar behind our cabins. Our partners were blindfolded to heighten their other senses and they had to trust us as they walked. When we did the walk the tide was out, so we saw a bunch of clam holes, some giant spider crabs and tiny shrimp, and I got to hold a hermit crab! It was really cool!"

"My favorite part was when we caught and studied organisms at the Audubon Bay. We got to use a net and we caught all kinds of things – sand crabs, eels, shrimp. I learned a lot about horseshoe crabs there!"

Click HERE to view photos from the trip (taken by Chinese Teacher Lin Wang).