Ocean Sciences Education Institute (OSEI)

The intent of OSEI is to infuse current ocean science research into middle school classrooms, by fostering interactions among experienced marine educators and ocean science researchers from the New England area. The goals of OSEI are ambitious: to form lasting partnerships between scientists and educators; to create adaptable lesson plans that can be shared throughout the country; to promote ocean science literacy; and to get scientists involved in education, helping to ensure substantive improvements in science education. In OSEI, researchers and middle school teachers, district science coordinators and facilitators collaborate to share resources, materials and expertise; to learn more about ocean science and ocean scientists; to form a network of active individuals and organizations; and to develop exemplary research-based lesson plans to be implemented in the middle school classroom.

The OSEI model was developed and refined based upon the feedback of the COSEE-NE outside evaluator, Carol Baldassari, Senior Research Associate at the Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) at Lesley University. The OSEI model blends short research talks; field experiences including harbor tours, coastal salt marshes, and the intertidal environment; participatory lesson plans and activities; and a common goal of educators and researchers working together to develop a research-based lesson plan to be implemented in the classroom. OSEI breaks down common barriers between researchers and teachers, and a mutual respect for both professions is formed. Action plans and follow-up days are created and conducted to ensure further interactions between researchers and educators and a successful implementation of the research-based lesson plans during the school year. Participants share their ocean science projects throughout New England and the country by posting lesson plans on this website and by presenting at regional and national conferences.


OSEI Updates

Read about the latest news from the Ocean Sciences Education Institute

  • OSEI V

Expanding Marine Science in Elementary School Curricula

Northeastern University's Marine Science Center is working with K-5 public school systems in Swampscott and Nahant (Massachusetts) to develop an inquiry-based, field marine science curriculum that meshes with Massachusetts' Science and Technology Frameworks.  The themes are biodiversity in local coastal ecosystems, authentic research techniques, and changes in ecosystems across New England seasons.  For more information, contact Tracy Hadjuk .

Teachers from the Swampscott and Nahant (MA) school districts scrambled over rocks and seaweed as researchers introduced concepts and experiments that can be used in the classroom. Read more about their experience, and the lesson plans they developed with help from Marine Science Center scientists.

Real-Time Data via sensor networks

During the 2007/08 school year, teams of teachers, science coordinators and administrators from the Milton and Boston (MA) Public School districts will work together with active ocean scientists to infuse ocean science research into existing school curricula. For more information, see these reports: 

  • A two-day workshop in July 2007 concentrated on incorporating the use of real-time data via sensor networks into three foci: Observations of Marine Biota, Water Quality Monitoring, and Weather/Climate Stations.
  • A one-day report-out on December 8, 2007 from all three focus area teams.

In August 31 2007, teachers from the Rafael Hernandez School in Roxbury and the Sarah Greenwood School in Dorchester met at UMass Boston with Windows Around the World developer Juanita Urban-Rich for an OSEI V workshop. The Windows Around the World program is a visual, interactive and engaging international educational tool for elementary students that has been running for three years. It is a web-based exchange program that promotes and fosters international collaboration, environmental science and cultural geography. 



Plymouth Science Oceanographic Studies

Project PSOS (Plymouth Science Oceanographic Studies) partnered for a second seasonwith Plymouth (MA)  Public Schools, families of Plymouth, Bridgewater State College, Captain John Boats, and scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  This OSEI exposed all 7th grade students in the Plymouth school district to an interactive standards-based oceanography program involving offshore floating classrooms; lessons and educational resources will be produced.  A primary focus of this OSEI involves making the Project PSOS model more interdisciplinary.  A second goal is to increase the dissemination of the program within the community.  For more information please contact Carol (Krill) Carson at krillcarson@mac.com

  • OSEI Update (January 2006) - OSEI II and OSEI III News

  • OSEI Update (July 2005) - OSEI Successes: Productive Collaborations and Future Plans


OSEI Projects and Experiences


  • ASLO Hawaii (pdf) - Several members of the COSEE-NE team presented at the 13th annual Ocean Sciences Meeting held in Honolulu, Hawaii, and organized by ASLO (Association of Limnology and Oceanography), AGU (American Geophysical Union), TOS (The Oceanography Society) and ERF (Estuarine Research Federation). Find out what went on!
  • Michele Bahr Interview - Michele Bahr is the Education and Public Outreach Coordinator for the Marine Biological Laboratory Astrobiology Program. Michele has been involved with the OSEI III program PSOS, advising teachers on ways to incorporate microbial activities in oceanography curriculum.
  • OSEI - Read about the first Ocean Science Education Institute, launched in May of 2003.


Get Involved

Contact the COSEE-NE Director at pdibona@neaq.org for more information on getting involved with the Ocean Science Education Institute.



To date, representatives from the following institutions, museums, educators’ associations,

conservation groups and school districts have participated in OSEI:


Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
Gulf of Maine Institute (GOMI)
University of New Hampshire (UNH)
UMass Dartmouth
UMass Boston
University of Rhode Island (URI)
Bridgewater State College
Sea Education Association (SEA)
Massachusetts Audubon Society
Plum Island Ecological Long-Term Research (PIE-LTR)
Hands On Boat Based Education and Science
Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center
Massachusetts Marine Educators Association
Captain John’s Boats

Northeastern University Marine Science Center


Boston Public Schools
Fairhaven Public Schools
New Bedford Global Learning Charter School
Chelsea Public Schools
Salem Public Schools
Newburyport Public Schools
Plymouth Public Schools
Swampscott Middle School

Lynn Public Schools


The OSEI team is led by Principal Investigator Bob Chen (UMass Boston) and Program Coordinator Kim Frashure (UMass Boston). They anticipate that this successful workshop model will have a lasting impact on middle school education and will serve as a successful model for ocean science workshops throughout New England.