Science Adventures Tap into Students’ Talents

Pam Dodman, Upper School Science Teacher

Paul Cuffee students science trip

Cuffee students examine marine life at the John Chafee Nature Preserve.

Whether on land or on water, Paul Cuffee students are always exploring the natural world that surrounds them.

In mid-May, during the first stretch of glorious weather, Upper School marine explorers went to the John Chafee Nature Preserve in North Kingstown to collect and identify marine life in the inlet and along the beach. Students identified several crustaceans, such as green crabs, spider crabs, hermit crabs, and shrimp. The inlet bottom was filled with shells such as whelk, clams, quahogs, and periwinkles. Students even saw a herring gull carrying a spider crab, which it dropped from about 30 feet in the air to crack the crab’s shell.

Paul Cuffee student examines a shell

A Cuffee science student examines a puffer fish.

The class then proceeded to the Biomes Marine Biology Center, also in North Kingstown, to see other examples of local marine life. Students were able to touch chain catsharks, dogfish sharks, skates, horseshoe crabs, sea urchins, and other marine life. They even got to observe a puffer fish puff itself up with water and air, and then go belly up when put back in the water due to the added air in its body. Luckily, the fish righted itself once the air escaped.

Upperclassmen Allison Moreta, Mia Carbonell, Liliana Metts, and Roberto Tantoa at the Chafee Preserve.

Upperclassmen Allison Moreta, Mia Carbonell, Liliana Metts, and Roberto Tantoa at the Chafee Preserve.

This trip was part of their study of marine ecosystems in general, and the local environment in particular.

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Average class size: 18
Current enrollment: 774
Annual enrollment growth since 2001: 37%
Faculty with advanced degrees: 67%

What makes this school special is that it reaches beyond books and academics. The emphasis on community and teamwork is amazing.

 Kelly Barr, PCS Staff