Getting Your Feet Wet: A Summer of Science at the Maine Discovery Museum

Have you heard the old saying about selling seashells by the seashore? Well, what about telling sea stories about the seashore?

If you haven’t yet, don’t worry, it’ll catch on soon. This summer, the Maine Discovery Museum will host SEANET education outreach assistant Jordan Houdeshell for a weekly Seaside Stories hour in downtown Bangor. The series, which started earlier this month, will feature a different storybook each Tuesday afternoon and each story will be followed by an age-appropriate STEM art project.

The series is the result of an ongoing partnership between the Maine Discovery Museum and ME EPSCoR’s Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET).

In 2017, SEANET opened an interactive aquaculture exhibit on the ground floor of the museum. The exhibit features a virtual reality salmon pen and a hands-on oyster and mussel-harvesting experience.

“The aquaculture exhibit has been a big hit and we’re thrilled to increase the amount of programming we’re able to do with the museum this summer,” says Laurie Bragg, ME EPSCoR’s outreach and program manager. “This is a fantastic opportunity to introduce kids to marine science and engineering through fun, interactive activities.”

In addition to the Seaside Stories hour, Houdeshell, an undergraduate education student at the University of Maine, will be leading Seaside Science Lessons at the museum. These innovative lessons are designed to encourage the development of math and science skills in visitors ages 4-12.

Houdeshell’s education concentration at UMaine is in math and she’s excited about sharing her enthusiasm with young museumgoers. “I love math,” she says. “And, I think it’s important that kids learn to problem solve. Using math outside the classroom is the perfect way to foster those skills.”

In addition to these regularly scheduled activities, Houdeshell will host informational touch tank sessions at the museum and is developing special programming around marine science celebrations, including Shark Week and Cephalopod Week.

Seaside Stories will take place Tuesdays at 2 p.m. through Aug. 14 and Seaside Science Lessons will take place Thursdays at 2 p.m. until through Aug. 16. For information and admissions pricing, visit the Maine Discovery Museum online.

This work, part of SEANET’s ongoing aquaculture research, is funded by the National Science Foundation and Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine.