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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

Nokomis Elementary Teacher Martin McClure Sets Sail on North Atlantic Shark and Red Snapper Survey

Mr. McClure was selected to join NOAA scientists aboard an ocean research vessel as a science team member. NOAA originally scheduled him for this experience in 2020, but pandemic disruptions delayed him. NOAA’s Teachers at Sea sail aboard NOAA ships conducting ocean-related research projects. Mr. McClure will sail aboard the NOAA Ship Oregon II on a shark and red snapper survey mission.


“Through my experience with NOAA, my students will not only be able to learn first-hand about exciting research projects at sea, but they will also be witnesses to them, and on some level, participants in them,” says McClure. “Making their learning relevant through my own hands-on experiences is vital to getting students excited about science.”


On Monday, July 24, Mr. McClure boarded the NOAA Ship Oregon II in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and began his daily work with scientists as they conduct a bottom longline survey of shark and red snapper populations. Mr. McClure is writing a blog detailing his experience. 

NOAA Teachers at Sea are considered members of the science crew. On board, Mr. McClure will work at the instruction of the Chief Scientist and, like all crewmembers, follow the command of the ship’s Captain. The Chief Scientist will assign him to a regular 12-hour shift conducting research work. Many shifts are overnight work because ship and science operations happen 24/7. 


"NOAA's Teacher at Sea Program gives teachers the professional opportunity of a lifetime with a chance to participate in cutting edge science, on the ocean, working side-by-side with world-renowned scientists,” says Jennifer Hammond, the program’s director. “Teachers describe this authentic research experience as transformative and one that allows them to bring new knowledge and excitement back to their classrooms.”


Since 1990, the program has provided nearly 850 teachers the opportunity to gain first-hand experience participating in science at sea. These educators are able to enrich their curricula with the depth of understanding they gain by living and working side-by-side with scientists studying the marine environment.

Teachers return to their classrooms with first-hand accounts of what it’s like to live and work at sea, illustrated by photos, blogs, and lesson plans to use in their classrooms. Participants monitor our nation’s fisheries, measure physical and chemical ocean trends, and chart unknown seafloor regions.

“I grew up in South Florida and have had several experiences with sharks while fishing with my family off the Miami coast. It was exciting to find out that I would get to go back to where I had fished when I was younger. And I can’t think of anything better to pique the interest of my third-graders than sharks! I look forward to bringing my experiences back to the classroom to share with the students,” said McClure.

Read Martin’s blog, where he will share his experiences at sea with his students and community.

Read NOAA Teachers at Sea blog posts where they share their experiences at sea.

You can find learning and teaching resources about the ocean and atmosphere on The NOAA Education Portal.

Learn more on the Teachers at Sea Facebook page.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit NOAA on Facebook and Instagram.