Greetings from the Science Lab at Latham Centers!!

August 22, 2011

Phew!  We have been so busy.  I meant to post to this blog much earlier and now the summer session is almost over.   The science portion of Latham’s summer curriculum consists of field trips around Cape Cod.  This year’s topic of study is Water.  Students learned about the importance of clean water and how to test for water quality at the end of the regular school year.  During each of the eight weeks of summer session, field trips go to a different Cape location to study the water and explore the environment. Each school day a different group of students goes on a “science outing” to that week’s location so that by the end of the week all Latham students have had an opportunity to go.  This posting will describe our trip to Woods Hole for an Ocean Quest Discovery Cruise.
Getting to Woods Hole is part of the adventure- especially with summer traffic.  After about an hour in the van we parked at the Falmouth Mall and waited for the Whoosh Trolley and a half an hour ride into Woods Hole.  From there we walked several crowded blocks to the boat dock.  Somewhere in all of that we found the time to eat a bag lunch!   We got on the boat and sailed away.

The boat carried about 30 people divided into 3 groups so we were always mingling with families outside of the Latham community.  The groups rotated between learning stations on the boat every half hour.  The stations included learning about the physical aspects of sea water; a touch tank with assorted sea creatures to touch and hold; and a “classroom” discussion of horseshoe crabs including a chemistry experiment using their valuable blood.  (It clumps instantly in the presence of certain bacteria allowing doctors to rapidly test for spinal meningitis!)  After the boat, we reversed our travels to return to school- exhausted!
This would be an exciting (and tiring!) trip for anyone but for students with Prader Willi Syndrome and other emotional/ intellectual disabilities, it was thrilling and a huge accomplishment.  Walking crowded streets, riding a trolley, eating in public and watching others eat, climbing strange ladders to get on and off the boat and interacting appropriately with families on the boat are just a few of the challenges that were met with ease.  All had a great time, not a single problem.  It’s not just about the science!

Please watch this spot for other (briefer!) postings about other trips.

Sharon Rule-Agger
Science Teacher

“We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” 
~Hilaire Belloc

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