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SSU Coast Camp for Youth


The Savannah State University Marine Science Program hosts a half day marine science camp for local youth during the month of June.  This program is sponsored by the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center. In 2007, the camp is offered June 4-29.  Students participate in educational activities that help encourage ocean literacy; an understanding of the ocean’s influence on them and their influence on the ocean. Additionally, the camp provides hands-on experience in marine research, guiding participants in conducting mini-experiments and field observations following the apa case study format.  This format not only hones their scientific inquiry skills but also teaches them how to effectively communicate their findings, preparing them for future academic endeavors.All of the activities they experience focus on one of the seven ocean literacy principles:

1)       The Earth has one big ocean with many features.

2)       The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth.

3)       The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate.

4)       The ocean makes Earth habitable.

5)       The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems.

6)       The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected.

7)       The ocean is largely unexplored.



Instructors of the camp use these concepts as the core curriculum and generate lessons incorporating features and animals characteristic of coastal Georgia.  They also use NOS Discovery Kits, Educational Resources from the Project WET, Project WILD, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and materials from NOAA’s Education Team (  Three staff are present in each of the 7-8, 9-10, and 11-13 year old sections and one staff member mentors the 14-18 year olds.  All have Red Cross first aid and CPR certifications.

The camp will be offered annually during the month of June and will begin immediately after Savannah/Chatham County public schools close for the summer (no later than the second week). One of the strong features of the camp is that all the students in grades 1-12 study the same principles of ocean science, but each receives instruction tailored to their level of development.  At the start of each day, the entire camp meets in a central area, is provided information, and receives a short pep talk.  Then the participants disperse into their four sections and receive two and one half hours of direct science instruction, lab activities, and field trips.  Lunch is served in the classrooms and provides an opportunity for informal interaction, mentoring, and evaluation. During lunch, students are given short questionnaires (~3-7 questions, something that can be finished in 5 minutes or less and that is age appropriate) to determine what they have learned and how they are enjoying the camp. In addition to the daily evaluations, all students are given pretests and posttests.  A tracking process has been developed to follow the students after their participation in the camp to monitor their progress and retain them in the marine sciences.

The 2007 SSU Coast Camp has 86 registered youth.



Table 1. Typical Camp Day Agenda



7:30-8:30 am

Children (grades k-8) may be dropped by their parents at the central area.

Middle/High school students may arrive at 8:30am


Pep Session on Topic of the Day

Special mentors and/or visitors introduced to participants


Movement to Classrooms for Lesson


Lesson Instruction in Sections

Ex. “How the Oceans Affect People and How People Affect the Oceans”

(breaks will be inserted as needed by section instructors)


Lunch, Informal Interaction, and Evaluation in Classrooms


Group Wrap Up



Middle/High school students dismissed

Parents pick up children


Staff prepare for the next day (process student feedback, lab set-up, schedule adjustment)


Contact:  Mrs. Rebecca Wells, Marine Science Camp & Outreach Coordinator

               Hubert A room 117 SSU , This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , ph.351.6490


Below:  Children in the 7-8 year old class learn how filter feeders eat by pretending to be barnacles and catching popcorn "detritus" in a wind current.


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