LD takes Coastal Lab field trip

Kiara Royer, Staff Writer

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Lower Division (LD) first graders explored the Sound Waters Coastal Learning Center in Stamford, Connecticut to continue their study of the ocean.

The field trip really helped the class learn some facts about how sea animals live and eat, Simon Shaham (1) said.

The trip to Sound Waters is the first field trip of the year, so the students were very excited to experience something hands on, First Grade teacher Monica Gerken said.

The first grade has been annually going to Sound Waters for at least ten years, Gerken, who plans the trip every year, said.

The Sound Waters site is ideal because the group doesn’t have to travel too far, and the first graders aren’t confined to a classroom all day, she said.

Students were able to explore the beaches on the Long Island Sound and collect shells and Asian Shore crabs, First Grade Team Leader and Teacher Jean Eifert said.

“We had the opportunity to sort through jingle shells, oyster shells, mussels and clams,” Shaham said.

“The jingle shell was my favorite shell because they looked nice and came in different colors like white, orange, blue and shiny white,” he said.

“We learned that we can learn what kind of shell it is from the bottom,” Haris Efthymiatou (1) said.

For example, an oyster has a purple dot on the bottom of its shell, she said.

“[Sound Waters] also has touch tanks, which give the students the opportunity to take things out and feel them and touch them and get their hands in,” Gerken said.

Some of the marine life in the tanks includes turtles, horseshoe crabs, sea stars, and flounder, Eifert said.

While some students only put one finger in the tank, others were very adventurous and picked up rocks to see what was underneath, she said.

There were hermit crabs and spider crabs in the touch tanks, but Brian Mandigo’s (1) favorite animals were the snails, he said. “When you hold the snail out of the water and hum, the snail comes out,” Mandigo said.

Arielle Schaye (1) learned that the turtle in the touch tank could only live at Sound Waters because the site was a mix of fresh water and salt water, or brackish water, she said.

After the trip, the first graders summarized their day in their journals, and Efthymiatou wrote about looking for crabs and scooping them up with a sea shell, she said.

What Eifert liked about the trip was that the children she least expected to be really into the visit were actually the ones most interested, she said.

“It’s a great opportunity for kids that learn in a different way to have an experience that’s not pen to paper or sitting in a desk, and it gives them a chance to shine,” Eifert said.

The trip is a fun way to relate what the first graders are learning in class to real life and do something special as a class, Upper Division Physical Education Department Chair Amy Mojica P’30 said.

“[Sound Waters] takes the first graders out of the normal classroom environment and gives them a chance to just enjoy nature and the beach,” Gerken said.