Sometimes education goes beyond the textbook and allows students to get hands-on experience, a concept that New Bedford Public Schools is proud to offer year-round.

New Bedford Public Schools bring students straight to the water’s edges of East Beach and the Acushnet River Reserve through the nationally-recognized marine science program known as Sea Lab, allowing science classes to be more than just handouts and formulas.

Sea Lab provides unique field studies and summer programming in the environmental and life sciences to students in Grades 3 through 9. Sea Lab Facilitator Simone Bourgeois said the program is all about experiential learning by pairing science classes with field studies and hands-on activities. Thanks to efforts set forth by the Sea Lab program and the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Sea Lab field trips are able to happen throughout the school year.

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As a product of the North Kingstown, Rhode Island primary education system that had a similar program, I can vouch for the kind of impact a hands-on experience like this can make. Taking field trips to local estuaries and getting knee-deep in local waters to study the microorganisms and sea life that occupy it made a tremendous impact on my younger self. Wearing waders and taking water samples was much more memorable than any science homework I was given.

That’s exactly what Sea Lab is all about, providing NBPS students with a different approach to learning. Sea Lab teachers expose students to "Earth’s Place in the Universe," "Earth Systems" and "Earth and Human Activity." Environmental studies get more tangible when the students work alongside partners like the Community Boating Center of New Bedford and Mystic Aquarium.

Sea Lab has been providing an enriched curriculum to NBPS students since 1968, inspiring the next generation to be more in tune with the environment around them.

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