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Down by the bay

Kathleen Lippa
Northern News Services

Sanikiluaq (Mar 28/05) - Still wet and partly frozen sea urchins and starfish arrive fresh from the waters of Hudson Bay into the hands of Grade 11 students in Sanikiluaq.

It may look more like a show and tell drawn from the bay, but this is actually a typical physics class at Nuiyak school.

Minnie Novalinga, a Grade 11 student at Nuiyak School in Sanikiluaq, measuring sea urchins. - Kathleen Lippa/NNSL photo

The sea animals are an integral part of their classwork, and the students take it seriously.

Sarah Kudluarok and Minnie Novalinga closely examine the spiny creatures by slicing them open and measuring them on a little scale. In groups of three or four, the students note the sea urchin's diameter, whole weight, edible weight like real scientists in a laboratory, and write it all down including the date in a notebook and on little plastic bags containing each dissected urchin part.

The students, who all grew up in Sanikiluaq, notice the insides of the sea urchins are not as orange as they are supposed to be. The mix of girls and boys take note of this and continue cutting up new creatures they pull from a large Rubbermaid container.

The local hunters brought the sea urchins to town for them after a day of boating.

"We're saving the edible part, the eatable part," said Kudluarok laughing.

Another student piped up and corrected her saying "edible" which made them all laugh.

The students take turns scooping out the slimy not-so-orange middle part of each sea urchin and explain that this part they are saving is pretty good to eat.

"Just like that," the students said.

"You can eat it with rice. No boiling," said Kudluarok. "It tastes good."

"It tastes salty," added student Jessie Fraser who noted that the colour of the insides were definitely not as bright as they should be.

All the students agree that using the creatures around them keeps them excited about their assignments while they learn about collecting data and keeping records, and working in teams. Their physics class is held from 10-11:40 a.m. on Tuesday.