For the last two years, LabVenture! has partnered with local writing nonprofit the Telling Room. This unique collaboration gives students a chance to combine their writing and science skills. Each year, we offer writing prompts that complement the Telling Room’s chosen theme, from ocean exploration to the passing of time.
This year, two LabVenture! students had their stories selected for the Telling Room’s latest anthology, Sparks. These stories, fueled by their experiences in our lab, detail close encounters with fictional marine life. We hope you’ll enjoy their creativity — and if you’d like to read more, you can get a copy of Sparks from the Telling Room’s online store.
In this first story, The Electromeep, twelve-year-old David Morse shares a story about fishing, scientific observation, and ocean-derived energy. This work may be fiction, but real scientists in the Gulf of Maine are asking many of the same questions!
I am David Morse, a fisherman on my vessel, the Apple, and I am slowing down in Casco Bay to see what fish I find. I discover a strange species, a bluish green fish with a big tail and two small fins. Something that looks like a sea urchin grows out of its head. I take it back to my base to observe it.
It is apparently a mammal, and had come to the surface to breathe. I see that it can also survive out of water! I go get a ruler to measure it, and when I come back it is gone. I look around for it and find it by a light switch, and sit down to watch what it does. It looks like it is trying to get through the wall, and then it finds a way through the outlet to an exposed plug. It wants to unplug the cord so I unplug it and the lights go off. The fish puts its sea urchin-like head to the plug and the lights go back on. It can produce energy!
Our scientists also enjoyed twelve-year-old Kaiden Kelley's story, The Squidephant. While we've never pulled up a Squidephant in our nets, our researchers are used to seeing plenty of other amazing creatures while doing field work out on the water.
It was a quiet gray morning at sea, and choppy waters were visible through the murky port windows. The wind rocked the ship gently and gulls flapped overhead. A strong smell of salt hung in the air, and Cape Elizabeth was faintly visible in the distance. Simmons had found a hidden spot in the Gulf of Maine with a few little boats around. It was the ideal location.
Two days before this, we had gotten a grant to examine the waters in the Gulf for three days. Today was the last day, and we had so far discovered nothing to study. If we came back empty-handed, we would lose a lot of money, which would be devastating to our research. Lost in thought about this, I stood on the deck staring into the water as if there might actually be something there to see.
Together with the Telling Room, we're proud to support the growth of these students as both writers and scientists. Congratulations, David and Kaiden, for having your stories selected!