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The next round
days in Canada. We first visit the
New Brunswick Museum where the
In 2007 the torch was passed when the first skeleton of Delilah, Calvin’s mother
Calvineers graduated. The second genera- who was killed by a shipstrike,
tion Calvineers built a PowerPoint presen- hangs from the ceiling. I have the
tation telling the life story of Calvin. The students lie under the skeleton to
presentation pointed out just how dangerous imagine the enormity of a 49-foot
it was to be a right whale on the east Coast creature. The same day we travel to
of North America. even though it has been grand Manan Island by ferry and
illegal to kill a right whale since 1935, many stay overnight at the Boys and girls
right whales were still being killed by ship- Club, camping out on the floor there.
This video from the New
strikes and entanglements, human hazards. The next day we board the research
England Aquarium shows a
The Calvineers traveled to area schools and vessel, Elsie Menota, for a firsthand look at typical SAG, or Surface Active
organizations presenting Calvin’s story. right whales. This past September the students
Group, of right whales.
They presented to more than 400 people in saw more than twenty right whales and also
a year’s time, including Senator Susan Col- saw a Surface Active group (SAg) of eight
lins who actually visited their classroom for whales playing socially.
the presentation. They felt they were making 2009 was special for The
a difference. This group attended the 2007 CALVIN Project. The Calvineers
Consortium meeting in New Bedford and presented at the 18th Biennial Con-
reported their efforts to an overwhelmed ference for Marine Mammalogy
crowd of right whale scientists. in Quebec City where they also
The third generation of Calvineers is cur- attended three days of talks by inter-
rently giving one presentation a month about nationally renowned marine mam-
the plight of the right whales. They have mal scientists. Their presentation, in
presented to more than 1,000 people from a Plenary Session to 1,800 scientists,
Massachusetts to Quebec City. The project was interrupted three times by
Students perform the song
has allowed my students not only to behave applause and given a standing ova-
they wrote about Calvin’s
like scientists but also to rub shoulders with tion. The Calvineers received the Conference
scientists. In 2008 I asked Consortium sci- Committee’s award for “Scientific Communi-
entists to mentor Calvineers. each Calvineer cation and Innovative research.”
had a scientist mentor who was an authority The teaching of science is the doing of
in the subject the Calvineer was researching science. In the twenty-first century, basic
for their part of the presentation. science concepts and teaching can be
Using modern technology (all seventh- and an active process beyond the classroom.
eighth-grade students in Maine are issued a getting students involved with big ideas
laptop) each Calvineer produced three Pow- through meetings, conferences, and lectures
erPoint slides on a specific aspect of right only makes sense. These activities lead to
whale research. They then wove all the slides dialogue directly with scientists and often
together into a comprehensive presentation. to a mentor relationship. What better way to
teach science than through apprenticeship?
Twenty-first-century science teaching is way
In 2010 Bill McWeeny
Into the field and out on outside the classroom and rightly so. !
celebrates his fortieth
the sea
year as a middle school
science teacher and more
Our field studies are unique. My seventh and
than twenty-five years
eighth graders all travel to the Bay of Fundy
volunteering for the New
Middle Link, Maine Association for Middle Level
to witness the last remaining right whales
England Aquarium’s Right
education newsletter (
Whale Research Team. He
in the North Atlantic. I run a field trip every
currently teaches in Castine,
two years that Mr. Hoy would love. I take
New england Aquarium (
Maine. Check out Bill’s
all my seventh- and eighth-grade students to
21st-century classroom
grand Manan island in the Bay of Fundy. We
curriculum on Harvard
The Urban Whale, Scott Kraus and roz roland,
pile into three minivans with cameras, bin-
Project Zero’s ALPS Web
editors. Discusses history, biology, and plight of
site: http://learnweb.harvard.
oculars, and science journals and spend two modern North Atlantic right whales.
© synergy learning • 800-769-6199 • January/February 2010 Connect • Page 
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