NEW Programs for the Classroom, a BayLines Original Article

The Marine Science Institute provides students with structured opportunities to discover the Bay with both land-based and marine-focused programs. It gives students a chance to use scientific methods to discover the natural environment and learn teamwork and critical thinking skills.

Marine Science Institute is always working on bridging the gab between environmental concerns and education in the San Francisco Bay area. Working on new curricula allows us to develop programs that are tailored to the resident students of San Francisco Bay and the surrounding watershed.

We are proud to offer 3 new programs this season that allow students to dive deeper into their local aquatic habitats while offering a scientific experience built on California standards-based activities.

Wonders of Watersheds

Explore local watersheds and discover how humans depend on, and influence their health with the Wonders of Watersheds. This inquiry-driven program includes a series of three experiences combining in-class learning with hands-on experimentation and discovery to build a deeper understanding of watersheds. The first in-class “Inland Voyage” program will introduce concepts using experimentation with a watershed model. The second experience brings students into the field with a Creek Study. During this field trip students will take data about the water (including physical and chemical properties) that they will use to discuss the health of the watershed. This program culminates with a “Canoes in Sloughs” program that takes students out on the water where they explore another part of the watershed. Through this series students gain an in-depth appreciation for what a watershed is and for their connection to the environment.

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Biomimicry is the practice of taking inspiration from nature to create solutions to meet human needs in a sustainable way. MSI offers 2 programs that introduce this concept and encourage students to apply it in critical thinking, problem solving, and design. Through hands-on observation of live animals, students learn how to identify and analyze adaptations that can be mimicked to solve human challenges. The Discovery Voyage Biomimicry Program includes an in-class introductory visit with live animals, followed by a 4 hour voyage during which students find inspiration by studying the plankton, invertebrates and fish in the San Francisco Bay. The Inland Voyage Biomimicry Program takes place entirely in the classroom, where students will examine live animals and learn about their adaptations. The culmination of both of these programs is a final design challenge that requires students to apply their knowledge of adaptation to creating sustainable solutions for an imaginary research station that requires elements such as mobility, data collection and habitat for the scientists.

Habitat Combination Program

The Habitat Combination Program is a multiple-exposure program that combines an in-class visit featuring live animals with a field trip to deepen students’ experiences and create opportunities for cross-cutting between concepts. There are four options that introduce students to different animals and their habitats.

  • The “Beach Combo” features animals adapted to survive above and below the sand, which students will look during their field trip to Pescadero Beach and its adjoining marsh.
  • The “Marsh Combo” focuses on the birds, fish, and invertebrates commonly found in marshes and mudflats which students visit in Pescadero.
  • During “Rocky Shore Combo” students will study creatures both in their class and as they discover them in the tide pools of Pillar Point in Half Moon Bay.
  • For the “Coastal Water Combo” students will compare ocean animals brought to the classroom to the wildlife they will discover during a visit to MSI’s bayside facility.


To learn more about these programs and other programs offered by Marine Science Institute visit our webpage at or contact our scheduling coordinator at 650-364-2760 X10 or




This article is featured in our BayLines Winter Edition 2014-2015.

BayLines Winter Edition 14'-15'

BayLines Winter Edition 14′-15′


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