MAST Science program

9th Grade: All freshmen students are enrolled in Marine Biology, a 10-credit course that includes biochemistry, cellular biology, genetics, evolution, taxonomy, as well as marine ecology and marine classification. Aboard the school’s 65-foot vessel, the Blue Sea, students learn to conduct fish stock assessments by otter trawling. Students also participate in a variety of beach-related activities, including beach seining for species diversity, beach profiling to examine the seasonal variation in sediment erosion and deposition, and beach walks to understand beach fauna and flora.

10th Grade: All sophomore students are enrolled in Marine Chemistry, a 10-credit course that includes chemical reactions, atomic structures and behavior, properties of acids and bases, compounds and reactions, and the renowned “gummy bear sacrifice”. Aboard the Blue Sea, water quality testing, eutrophication, and plankton analysis are conducted.

11th Grade: All junior students are enrolled in Marine Physics, a 10-credit course that includes the study of motion, momentum, properties of light and optics, sound, waves, and the fundamental nature of matter and energy. Lessons also include study of “motion of the ocean”, i.e. waves, tides, and Ekman spiral. While on the research vessel, students take a trip to NYC to study bridge design and the forces that make it all work. We also continue to explore water quality as well as using sound to model benthic environments in 3D.

12th Grade: In addition to one of three Senior Capstone Courses (see below) MAST seniors have the option to take one of the following 5-credit science courses: Oceanography, Environmental Science, Sustainable Societies, or AP Physics. Students have the option to take these courses for college credit through dual-enrollment programs with Brookdale Community College, Stockton College, or the College Board's Advanced Placement program.

Students enrolled in Oceanography consolidate what they have learned in the previous three years and apply it to the study of the marine environment. Topics include a more in-depth study of marine chemistry and marine physics as well as plate tectonics, marine ecology, and marine geology. Aboard MAST's Research Vessel, Blue Sea, oceanography students work with visiting scientists from Monmouth University, Brookdale Community College, Rutgers University, and Georgian Court University to conduct research including mapping using side scan sonar, identify ichthyoplankton and study fish population dynamics.

Students enrolled in Environmental Science examine environmental problems and sustainability, ecosystems and community ecology, human population dynamics, sustaining biodiversity, water pollution, energy crises, air pollution and climate change, and environmental politics and world views. Students have the option to take this course for college credit through a dual-enrollment program with Brookdale Community College and Stockton College.

Sustainable Societies utilizes a scientific, student-centered approach to examine national and local environmental, social, and economic issues. The course is designed to encourage innovation and support the ongoing development of new skills and learning approaches in a collaborative environment. Students utilize the experiences of their first three years at MAST to design and carry out projects stressing inquiry and problem-based approaches. They will synthesize scientific study with social analysis of issues related to our environment, including sound management, use and conservation, the dynamics of public policy, private actions and corporate interests. This will be a fully integrated, interdisciplinary course between the Science and Social Studies Departments at MAST, that is driven by student interests and goals.

The AP Physics course is based on the AP curriculum which includes a variety of physics topics presented both conceptually and mathematically. Students can choose between AP Physics C and AP Physics 2. AP Physics C covers a variety of topics in the study of mechanics and includes calculus methods to study and analyze problems. AP Physics 2 includes the following topics: pressure and buoyancy, thermal dynamics, electricity and magnetism, optics and modern physics. Topics in AP Physics 2 are presented using algebraic methods.

Senior Capstone Courses

In addition to the science courses listed above, MAST seniors must also choose one of three 10-credit Senior Capstone Courses which culminate in a performance assessment, project, or portfolio assessment for final program completion. These three courses are an engineering course, Systems Engineering II, a marine science course, Marine Field Research (mentioned above), or a course that blends those two fields of study, Directed Field Research. Students choose their Senior Capstone Course based on their preparation, aptitude, and the anticipated direction for college and careers after high school. Each of these three courses provides students with the opportunity to work in cooperation with, and under the direction of, a mentor from either Business and Industry, or from Higher Education. This student/mentor interaction creates a bridge between high school and college, and allows students to engage in research projects that are often entered into national competitions, or in some cases, even result in publication in peer reviewed scholarly journals.

Systems Engineering II provides students with the opportunity to integrate K-12 subject matter to design and develop a solution to solve a marine-themed design problem. The students use prior knowledge of the design process and drawing techniques such as hand sketching and computer-aided drafting to design and solve problems related to the solution. Emphasis is placed on research, documentation and evaluation of the solution to the design problem. The organizational structure of this course is based on a “Student Driven Project” and a “Central Project” philosophy to provide a realistic and meaningful experience and to allow for guidance and support through the community and industry.

The course will allow students to apply the basic concepts for design, problem solving, technical writing, computer application, and material processing skills. Students will design, develop and construct an entire single solution to a problem or an integral part of a system that must be integrated with other student work to produce a solution to a larger design problem. All solutions are tested, evaluated and redesigned as needed as time permits.

Marine Field Research

It is the goal of the Marine Research to allow each student to continue to develop individual research skills including using the scientific method to design experiments, utilize online databases and professional contacts to conduct reviews of the literature, collect data using current methods and techniques, organize and analyze data, and practice using the peer review process for both written and oral presentation. Additionally students will use their research projects to explore current topics and careers in Marine Science. It is designed to support and amplify important topics from previous Marine Science courses while allowing the student to investigate problems/marine careers in which they have a strong interest. Each student is required to generate a scientific paper and present information both visually and orally, thus preparing them for future undergraduate courses where such papers are required. As part of the peer review process students are given opportunities to present their research at fairs, conferences and symposia at the local to national level.

Resources: DataCamp Visit Data Camp

Directed Field Research is a course designed to present students with a culminating activity that will provide an opportunity for them to utilize the design process in conjunction with scientific research methodologies. Through the completion of a field based or laboratory project, the student will be encouraged to think cognitively and analytically without suspending the creativity necessary for objective approaches to scientific problems. Directed Field Research implements elements of the Systems Engineering Program such as but not limited to the problem solving procedure, design process, AutoCAD and Weblog Design. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the marine environment of Sandy Hook as the primary catalyst for the application of problem solving and research skills. A variety of different marine habitats, including open beach, dune systems and salt marshes; and classroom laboratories such as the CAD lab, Systems Engineering Laboratory, Media Center and the facilities available to us at NOAA will be an integral component of the students coursework. Data collection and analysis skills will be enhanced and reinforced within the framework of their project.