2nd Graders Study Oysters and Why Where is Important

Why Is Where Important? is one of eight essential questions guiding Collegiate School’s JK-4th Grade social studies curriculum. Essential questions are at the heart of Collegiate’s social studies discipline, have no obvious “right or wrong” answer, they recur throughout students’ learning journey and are framed to encourage curiosity and inquiry.
To build on understandings about why where is important, 2nd Graders have connected their service learning project planting Chesapeake Bay grasses to Chesapeake Bay oysters and their habitats, harvesting and commercialization.

Recently, 2nd Graders heard the story of the Tangier Island Oyster Company from Chief Financial Officer David Johnson and co-founder Craig Suro. The company was created to sustain the unique and valuable way of life on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay and their business is to produce the most delicious oysters from the Bay while providing a means of livelihood for the people and future generations of Tangier.

The company’s story is an example of how people adapt to and modify their physical environments, why geographic factors influence the location of economic activities, how the way we live impacts the physical world and why we must care for the Earth in order to protect its resources.

With these basic understandings in place, students have begun to study and follow the journey of an oyster from its start — in the wild, a hatchery, a shell restoration program or on an oyster farm; through the hands of watermen and women, seafood processors and shipping companies — to better understand why where is important, basic economics and the role of oysters in the health of Virginia's waters and economy.