Museum of Science visits Sea Road School

Top Photo

Sea Road students Hannah Marquis, Ian Zogg, Allison Rickert, and Julia Plaisted hold a vulture’s skull. Stephan Burklin photo
By Stephan Burklin
April 07, 2011

KENNEBUNK — Enter most any elementary school gym and you’re liable to witness sheer pandemonium, a scene of unparalleled energy and noise. But students at Kennebunk’s Sea Road School on March 24 were strangely subdued.

Instead of swirling and stampeding, as they customarily do, this class of fourth-graders sat motionlessly on the hardwood floor, their attention magnetically fixed on a guest speaker.

The cause of such unnatural tranquility? Katie Slivensky, a lecturer with the Boston Museum of Science, who stood before the class with an exotic lizard curled around her forearm. The initial sight of the lizard occasioned a collective cry of astonishment and peals of laughter.

Catering to this sense of wonder, Boston’s Museum of Science offers traveling programs to students across New England.

Slivensky said the program, “Animal Adaptations,” is designed to introduce students to animal evolution by allowing them to observe both on live animals and skulls. In addition to the reptilian specimen, students also caught a glimpse of a toad and a screech owl.

Brenda Case, the Sea Road School teacher who initiated the event, said the intention was to provide students with enrichment activities such as Slivensky’s visit as an extension of the science curriculum.

“It provides students with a connection to real life and a reinforcement of the science concepts taught,” she said. “It also gives the children a memorable and an exciting experience.”

The event on March 24 was the last of four programs offered at Sea Road School this school year. Since last fall, 253 students have benefited from the traveling programs, which have touched on topics ranging from electromagnetism to cryogenics.

The $1,800 package was sponsored by the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks and Arundel, a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization with an annual $100,000 operating budget.

Carol Bousquet, a member of the foundation’s Finance Committee, said the organization’s two largest fundraising events are an October “call-a-thon” and an annual golf tournament.

In order to secure funding, Case said Sea Road School’s 4th- and 5th-grade team leaders wrote a grant proposal to the foundation and delivered a presentation to the grant committee.

Upon receipt of funding, the school then contacted the Boston Museum of Science to coordinate the presentations with corresponding science unites.

Case said all four programs were outstanding.

“The students were interested, involved, and excited about each one,” she said. “The presenters were very knowledgeable, well-prepared, and connected to the children.”

She said that the school is already planning to schedule the same presentations for next year’s students.