Catherine's blog

Educational Uses of Gyotaku or Fish Printing

Gyotaku Flounder
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Gyotaku is a traditional form of Japanese art that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep a record of the fish they caught. They would apply sumi ink to one side of a freshly caught fish, then cover the fish with rice paper and rub to create an exact image of the fish. The ink was non-toxic and allowed for the fish to be processed for eating, while preserving records of fish species and sizes.

A Current Event in the Classroom: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Students Study Plankton

Sometimes, a tragic event can become a powerful teaching opportunity. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has the potential to capture students’ attention and stimulate discussion on topics like:

• biology and ecology (How will the oil effect wildlife and the environment?),

• physics and chemistry (How do water conditions, currents, and weather affect the way the oil disperses? What techniques and materials can we use to clean up this mess?),

The Search for an Elusive Ribbon Worm

A Ribbon Worm From the Mud Flats

With 1,400 named species of ribbon worms inhabiting every ecosystem on earth, seeking one out should be an easy proposition. But I quickly learned that it can be quite daunting when you’re looking for certain teeny-tiny mud-loving worms. I recently accompanied Dr. Jon Norenburg and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Eduardo Zattara, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History research scientists in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology, on a research trip to Fort Pierce, Florida. The goal?

Using Light Painting to Teach Bioluminescence

Light Painting Tutorial
Light Painted Fish
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What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think.

In a unique spin on an art technique called "light painting," you can create your own bioluminescent organisms with glow sticks in your classroom or home.

Teaching Your Students About Marine Debris: a Classroom Activity

Design Your Own Bag
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Have you ever gone to your favorite coastal or lakeside beach and instead of having a fun day in the sun you were faced with a trove of trash? How heartbreaking it is to see waters and shorelines littered with items that you have at home, that maybe you’ve even recently thrown away.  

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