[USA] Fifth-grader Kate Webb and Assistant Instructor Dana Eckert lean in close, comparing pieces of seaweed to an identification chart held by Kate’s grandpa, Max Furer.
The brown one looks like rockweed, and the red one is Hymenena, they decide.
Both go in a plastic bag to take from the beach to the classroom for pressing.
The inter-generational pair were taking part in Shannon Point Marine Center’s Grandparents U. It pairs students with their grandparents for a hands-on course investigating organisms and habitats that are part of the Salish Sea shoreline.
“I’ve kind of been interested in marine biology,” Kate said.
She thought the class would be fun — and she loves her grandpa. She said the best part was looking at plankton, watching them move around and trying to name all of them.
“I named at least three before we had to go,” Kate said.
For Furer, it’s been a learning experience, as well.
“A lot of things I never knew before,” he said.
Instructor Mira Lutz said the two-day session included learning about plankton, invertebrates, food webs, marine mammals and seaweed.
“We started on the beach so they could get an idea of the smells and the feel,” she said.
The sessions included classroom time, games and beach exploration.
Lutz said the class shows the kids they are valued because their grandparents want to spend time with them. They also see that learning continues throughout life.
“Learning together side by side,” she said. “It’s not just in school.”
Don Mowat said it was his idea to head to Grandparents U with grandson Andrew Mowat.
“So we have a chance to spend time together,” he said. “Exploring together and having revealed to you the things he’s interested in.”
Mowat said it was great to see Andrew turned on to learning.
Andrew, a fifth-grader, said he’s done similar units in school but likes the hands-on version.
“It’s fun doing plankton under the microscope,” he said.
Several participants praised Lutz for her teaching style.
“She explains it so everyone can get it,” Andrew said.
View original article at: Kids and their grandparents explore sea life together