MES second-graders get close-up look at ocean creatures



Students in Ginger Becker?s second-grade class at Marion Elementary School studied the ocean this month and had the unique chance Thursday to see underwater creatures firsthand.

?I like to bring the being-there experience to my students,? she said. ?Who knows, maybe they may grow a strong passion for oceanography or marine biology.?

The presentation included a variety of underwater specimens: a squid, a starfish, a sea urchin, a manta ray and two sharks, all preserved in formaldehyde. The array of creatures were ordered from science catalogs, she said.

During the class period, Becker discussed each of the characteristics specific to that specimen and, as a grand finale, she dissected the female shark to expose its internal organs and eggs.

One of her favorite specimens, Becker said, is Dogfish Sharks because they haven?t changed since prehistoric times.

In her 21 years of teaching, Becker said she has done this type of presentation several times and said the student reactions vary.

?I have had responses from ?yucky? to ?awesome? to ?they don?t want to get near those things,?? she said.

This year?s class, she said, was very observant.

?I thought they were good listeners,? she said.

All of the students were given the option of taking a closer look after the presentation, she said, but everyone had to wear gloves.

Ethan Darnall, a student in Sarah Waddell?s fifth grade class, asked if he could also come and observe.

Becker said she discovered later that Darnall wants to get involved in marine biology.

?All he wants to read about is sharks and other marine animals,? she said. ?It will be fun to see where this takes him.?

In addition to Darnall, three Tabor College students also attended the presentation.

Leigh Costello and Sarah Vogt, seniors, are education majors and student teaching at MES during the second semester.

Molly Coppadge, a junior, was observing as part of her field experience in education.

Becker said she enjoys giving students new experiences.

?I strive to give the children as many opportunities as possible to learn new things,? she said.

Following the presentation, she said some of the second grade students were encouraged to do more research on the ocean and its animals.

?I always tell the children that (these sea creatures) were not killed for the sake of our observations,? she said. ?They were mostly likely killed in fishing nets.?

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