Science on the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan

Original content by: Alexandra McInturf, Lisa Gilbert

About The Project

During the 38th Voyage of the Charles W. Morgan, Dr. Lisa Gilbert led shipboard science projects, gathering information on the weather, water, birds, mammals and even trash encountered along the way. Dr. Gilbert and her assistants, the 38th Voyagers used modern instruments like GPS to determine location and a microscope to analyze plankton.  They recorded observations in a log much like the ones used by generations of seafarers before them.

Inspired by the 38th Voyage, graduate student Alexandra McInturf and Dr. Gilbert created a new science unit for middle school teachers.  The six lessons in the unit merge history with science to encourage an enduring interdisciplinary connection between modern marine science and the experience of the nineteenth-century whaler.  Each lesson includes a reading or activity that reflects one or more historic observations mariners conducted at sea. While these observations may not have been originally performed with scientific intent, students will learn the value of historical perspective on modern research.

Each lesson, on the sidebar at left, is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and can be used as stand-alone material or in sequence, adaptable to any middle school science course. All of the lessons are linked to articles on Mystic Seaport’s 38th Voyage website and additional resources.

This unit was funded by Williams College.