Alma del Mar scholars embark on scalloping expedition

Date Published: 
June 1, 2018
The Standard Times

NEW BEDFORD — Fourth grade scholars at Alma del Mar got a lesson in scallop shucking recently as part of their studies into the evolution of fishing technology and the fishing industry in New Bedford.

Martin Johnson, with Oceans Fleet, fielded a wide range of questions from the curious students.

Johnson then showed them how demanding the life of a scalloper is by conducting a scallop shucking demonstration using scallops that were donated by Eastern Fisheries of New Bedford.

This spring, according to a news release, fourth grade scholars at Alma del Mar, a K-8 public charter school, have embarked on an Expedition exploring simple machines with a focus on those associated with fishing boats and the New Bedford fishing industry. In every subject, Alma del Mar scholars both master the fundamentals and apply their learning in new ways. Learning Expeditions, which are 6-12 week investigations into key topics, focus primarily on science and social studies.

The ability to connect these Learning Expeditions to the local area is a key component of making the material relevant and exciting for Alma scholars, school officials said. For this Expedition, fourth graders visit New Bedford Whaling Museum and talk to local experts about the fishing industry to learn about the ways in which simple and complex machines affect people’s lives.

They began by their research by visiting Plimoth Plantation to study how the Wampanoag fished for their communities. They are looking at how the industry has developed from ancient times to the modern day fishing industry in New Bedford.

Each grade embarks on at least two Expeditions over the course of the year, school officials said, noting Expeditions integrate content knowledge and service-learning opportunities.

Ultimately, the young scholars gain a rich understanding of a subject and leverage this knowledge to strengthen their community, they said.