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Sailing Into Science Program
Program Coordinator: Sarah Herbelin 568 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610
Phone (510) 238-2196, Fax (510) 238-7199
Sailing Into Science (SIS) is a hands-on science program designed for fifth graders that utilizes Lake Merritt's unique environment setting for education and recreation. SIS provides youth with adventurous education employing a comprehensive science curriculum developed in partnership with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD).
During the regular school year (mid-September through mid-November and mid-February through June), teachers schedule up to four full-days to spend at the Sailing Into Science classrooms using Lake Merritt as their laboratory.
Students and teachers experience rich entry points into the worlds of Life Science, Physics, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Nautical Science. This program immerses youth in a rigorous science curriculum coupled with activities proven to build confidence, self-esteem, foster creative problem solving, and team building.
No Ordinary Field Trip
Sailing Into Science is not just another field trip. By facilitating and providing teachers and students with an outlet for hands-on learning it helps inspire, encourage, and increase students' interest and sense of adventure while studying science in the classroom.
From 9:00am Through 11:30am
The first half of the day is dedicated to investigating one of the science topics utilizing the inquiry-method of teaching supported by the National Science Foundation. Program instructors help students cultivate ideas and questions about their world enabling them to conduct investigations, gather data, and think critically about relationships between evidence, explanations and experimentation.
Each of the classrooms has been designed to support the specific topic. For example, the Physics classroom contains life-size simple machines (Levers & Pulleys) for students to discuss, analyze, and perform experiments while actively collecting data in their science logs.
Engaging in these hands-on activities gives students the opportunity to receive tangible, instant feedback directly from the outcome of their own experience.
From Noon Through 2:00pm
After lunch the students spend the remainder of the day using what they learned in the classroom, on Lake Merritt in boats using oars (levers), measuring the lake depth, or putting their teamwork to a real "all in the same boat" test.
Each day the students employ a different boating activity to support and compliment classroom science discussions. Students gain a concrete understanding of abstract scientific concepts through the practical application of boating activities. By adhering to the Science Content Standards for California SIS helps provide youth with a foundation of skills and knowledge to pursue science at the middle and high school level.
Why Lake Merritt?
Lake Merritt's unique environment, boating facilities, and easily accessible location provides a rich array of educational and recreational opportunities for youth and families. Located in downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt covers 140 acres and is the oldest wildlife refuge in the U.S. Thousands of birds, fish, crabs, and shrimp make this their home with occasional visits from leopard sharks and bat rays.
Education and Recreation
Sailing Into Science equips youth with skills to utilize and enjoy this unique environment for recreation, education, and relaxation all year long. On the last day with Sailing Into Science each student receives a card entitling them to free rentals of any canoe, pedal boat, kayak, or rowboat.
To get involved in this wonderful program, or for additional information, please contact the Lake Merritt Boating Center at (510) 238-2196.
Sailing Into Science classes run February - June and September - November each year
$300 per class per day for up to 32 students; $150 per class per day for up to 15 students. Partial scholarships are available for OUSD Title I Schools.
The Lake Merritt Boating Center's Sailing Into Science Program provides an instrumental opportunity for youth to fundamentally learn, embrace and actively participate in both, a classroom setting and a natural habitat, in order to ignite and further develop an interest in the field of science and to respect and appreciate our limited natural resources.