Projects & Materials

STEM at School

STEM UNIT: Take a Bite Out of Shark Research with Real Data

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This unit was created by Joanne Jarzobski, Barnstable High school, during her 2023 Teacher in Residence weeks with Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) in Chatham, MA for her 11 and 12th grade marine biology students.

From this experience with AWSC, it is clear they have made much of their data available online via their white shark logbook. My goal was to use this information to create activities with students and get them thinking about the bigger picture of shark research, population studies, mark recapture (capture-recapture) studies, tag data, and public policy initiatives.

Lesson one is looking at how white sharks are identified, as it pertains to capture-recapture (mark-recapture) studies and students will try their hand at matching sharks. Lesson two and three are linked closely with the when and where of white shark sightings. Lesson two is exploring where we find white sharks along the coast of Cape Cod. Lesson three is exploring when we find white sharks along the coast of Cape Cod, with some consideration to size and sex of the sharks sighted. Lesson four is a field trip to one of AWSC shark centers, in either Chatham or Provincetown.

Students will gain more appreciation for, and understanding of the marine ecosystems, the importance of having a healthy marine ecosystem not only for us on Cape Cod, but for the entire planet, and the resources utilized locally, with regards to the delicate balance we need to undertake with recreating in our local waters along with our shark and seal populations.