Our crew of professional educators create an environment for students to observe, inquire, and discover in an unforgettable on the water experience.
Available on both the Seaward and Matthew Turner
We begin Bay Exploration Sails with a safety briefing on deck, then students set sail with the assistance of the crew to head into San Francisco Bay! Lesson plans are conducted under way in groups of 10-15 students, rotating through 30 minute learning stations, with time for a 5-10 minute pause for students to stay still, listen to and feel the motion of the boat in the bay. All students get a tour below deck and a glimpse of life on a sailboat!
Select one of the programs below or choose three lessons to design your own!
Program Lesson plans
- Use the scientific method to make predictions and answer questions about the natural environment
- Understand that different creatures have different environmental requirements, seeing the connection between abiotic and biotic components of the ecosystem
- Understand where the bay’s water comes from and some anthropogenic and natural factors that affect its composition
- Learn about three common bay animals
Become scientists and figure out whether three important bay species would thrive in the water on which we are sailing. This requires us to discover the sources and properties of the water around us.
- Learn about and relate to the lives of contemporary and historic sailors
- Learn what sea shanties are and how sailors used them
- Work together to create their own shanty representing their experience
Students must imagine what life would be like for them living onboard a sailboat and must create a sea shanty about their time on Seaward.
- Understand what microplastics are, and how they are affecting marine organisms and the marine environment
- Identify types of marine debris, and learn how long it actually takes for common items to decompose
- Learn that consumer choices have impacts on people and organisms that are thousands of miles away
Students will determine types of marine debris and microplastics, and focus on ways that their choices will affect this global issue.
- Understand the definition of plankton and its role in the global and local ecosystem
- Observe several different types of plankton found in San Francisco Bay
- Understand how their lives relate to and depend upon plankton
Students must catch and examine plankton from San Francisco Bay to help to understand its importance.
- Sample the marine environment using a Benthic Grab, Secchi Disk, and Van Dorn Bottle
- Draw conclusions about the data collected. Why does it matter?
Put yourself in the shoes of an Oceanographer and understand the meaning of the data collected from your samples.
Note: this lesson occurs after leaving the dock but before setting sail to facilitate the use of the Oceanography equipment
- Experience being a crew member: steer, serve as lookout, handle sails as appropriate
- Follow directions carefully and seriously
- See the bay as an active body of water—environmentally and culturally—to which we are connected
Become the crew of the ship!