Our Educational Programs
Carolina Coastal Classrooms, Inc. vessel ADA MAE is a North Carolina Skipjack, built in 1915. Stationed in New Bern, NC, the ADA MAE is used to promote understanding and appreciation of coastal waters, science, ecology, sailing and maritime heritage through hands-on shipboard educational experiences. A variety of programs involve small groups of students (about a dozen) rotating through various shipboard stations. Each station is led by a trained educator/instructor/crew member. Similar activities and experiences will occur onboard the Schooner Carolina but will allow for extended overnight missions with larger groups of people. Stations Include:
Sail Theory and Sail Setting - Students will learn what makes a sailing vessel move through the water. Bernoulli's principle of lift will be explained and demonstrated. Students will learn about buoyancy and ballast. Students will raise and lower sails and be responsible for sail trim.
Helm - ADA MAE'S steering will be conducted by students under the supervision of the captain. Students will work together as a team with the navigators and sail trimmers to steer appropriate compass courses and learn the basic "rules of the road" for maneuvering the ship.
Navigation - Students will learn basic "dead reckoning" navigation procedures, how to plot a course, "triangulation" to "fix" the ship's position and how to determine ADA MAE'S speed. They will learn how to compute time to destination and determine distance traveled.
Salt Wedge/Estuary - Students will learn about estuaries and the marine life they support. They will perform experiments, observing what happens when salt water from our ocean and sounds meets fresh water from our coastal rivers and streams.
Water Quality - Students will analyze water quality parameters determining dissolved oxygen, salinity, temperature, pH and nitrate contents. They will use colorimeters, refractometers and other scientific equipment to study wet chemistry. Data recorded onboard may be taken back to their schools and classrooms.
Plankton Studies - Students will set a tow net for plankton and examine specimens discovered with onboard video microscopes. Organisms may be identified, recorded on blank videotapes and taken back to the classroom.
Oyster Studies - Students will dredge for oysters using a small oyster "scrape." They will examine and dissect live oysters while discussing the life cycle of the oyster, its habitat, and its importance to coastal North Carolina. Oyster harvesting techniques and the history of the oyster industry will also be discussed.
Estuarine Life - Students will set a trawl net and observe marine life caught. They will use dichotomous keys to identify marine life and learn about marine life characteristics.
Weather - Students will record weather observations, including wind speed and direction, wave height, air and water temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity and cloud cover.
Mechanical advantage - Students will experiment with the block and tackle of ADA MAE 'S rigging to explore the concept of mechanical advantage and its applications.
Town Meeting - Students are presented with a natural resources issue, i.e. the decline of the oyster industry or other commercial fisheries in the Pamlico and Albermarle Sounds. They are then given roles to play, such as commercial fishermen or oystermen, seafood processing plant workers, farmers, real estate developers, government officials and recreational users from our coastal areas, waters and sounds. Each team of students is asked to use problem solving skills to determine the impact their specific group of people has made on the oyster industry or other commercial fishery and how their groups plan to help bring back the oyster population or other commercial fishery.
Buoyancy - Students will explore the physics of buoyancy, gravity and displacement by building boats out of simple materials, such as aluminum foil, newspaper, Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors and duct tape. These boats will be entered in the "Buoyancy Challenge," where weights will be added to the boats to see which is the most buoyant.
More About the Carolina Coastal Classrooms Experience
After station rotations in the morning, students will observe a 15 minute "sail of silence" to listen and remember what sounds they hear. After the "sail of silence," students enjoy lunch on deck. The afternoon onboard ADA MAE involves trawl fishing or oyster dredging and examination of marine life caught. Students are introduced to the method of fishing or dredging, the parts of the trawl net or dredging gear, and then help set and retrieve the trawl net or dredge.
After the catch is brought onboard, students and onboard educators quickly place the catch into aquariums set up on deck. Groups of students are given different species and challenged with identifying the various marine life using dichotomous keys.
At the end of the sailing day, the entire group of students, teachers and crew helps to "strike sails!" The ADA MAE onboard day program concludes with a review and discussion about what students and teachers "learned from their experience". Students are asked how these experiences might correlate to their lives back on land or in their classrooms with certain subjects they are studying. Students may return to their schools with the water quality data, oyster or other marine life data collected, trawl log and a video recording of their plankton collection for further classroom studies.