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3rd, 4th & 5th Grade Science Enrichment

Ocean Explorers is Maritime Gloucester’s core program.  It maximizes year-round use our facility for educational programming. It is available to Cape Ann area schools, and also to other school districts in the north shore.


It gives us a vehicle for getting out the word in the community about who we are and what we do. It builds our credibility by enabling us to share our resources with children in the community who do not have easy access to boats, to scientific equipment or to settings where they are encouraged to engage in hands-on activities designed to demystify natural phenomena that occur in their immediate environment. Thanks to our current funders, the Amelia Peabody Foundation, the Gloucester Education Foundation, the Educational Foundation for Rockport, Applied Materials, the Bruce J Anderson Foundation and the McCarthy Family Fund, the program has given Maritime Gloucester recognition as a provider of high quality science instruction.  

Ocean Explorers brings each 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade class in the Cape Ann schools to Maritime Gloucester a field trip to participate in hands-on marine and physical science activities. At Maritime Gloucester, each class rotates through three one-hour learning units, including one unit aboard a research vessel on Gloucester Harbor and a unit in our digital microscope lab.

On site we divide children into groups of no more than twelve, maintaining a staff to student ratio of 1:12. This allows us to make certain that all participants are actively engaged throughout each experience.

During a spring visit to Maritime Gloucester all students participate in one learning unit aboard the Schooner Ardelle, a 55' representation of a pinky schooner built by Ebenezer Burnham in 1845. The Ardelle was launched by Captain Harold Burnham at his shipyard in Essex, MA. Coast Guard certified to carry 49 passengers; the Ardelle serves as a floating educational platform fully integrated into Maritime Gloucester’s ongoing education programs.


In the winter, Maritime Gloucester staff will present  in-class lessons for our classroom partners. The purpose of these lessons is to further develop and reinforce the subjects explored during the site visits. All lesson plans are aligned with the Massachusetts State Frameworks, but the place-based, hands-on, inquiry-based learning modules really bring the experiences to life. 

At Maritime Gloucester, students benefit from the opportunity to engage in hands on explorations in both life and physical science that would not be possible to replicate in the classroom. Through these explorations, students are introduced to science process skills that are developmentally appropriate for their age level, expand their science vocabulary and explore content areas that are directly linked to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Learning units have been developed and refined with input from Science Team Lead Teachers for each grade and complement the work that the students are doing in the classroom. Maritime Gloucester also provides pre- and post- visit materials that teachers incorporate as a part of their classroom lessons.