As we wrap up the school year here at The Reef Institute it is an amazing time of reflection of all that has been accomplished.
This was a year of educational expansion at The Reef Institute. Almost 4,000 students were reached on a monthly basis in a variety of forms within our educational programming.
Through 4 school partnerships we saw every student in these schools bi-monthly for marine science education. Additionally, we worked with private and public schools to teach in the classroom at least once a month in grade specific and hands on learning. Students learned about coral as an animal, invasive species, and invertebrates just to name a few of the multiple topics covered.
The Reef Institute takes a unique approach to marine education in helping those we teach move from merely becoming aware of issues in the ocean to genuinely becoming great stewards of the marine environment at large.
The favorite lesson of the year as voted on by students was our fish gill lesson. Using a paper cup, students designed a fish by deciding where it would live, how it would move and what it would eat. Then they conducted a simple experiment using a coffee filter to learn how oxygen is removed from the water, to show how fish can breathe using their gills.
Students chose this as the lesson that connected with them the most clearly. While most understand that fish use gills, few understood how these feathery organs actually worked. It is fun to see students learn something totally new, but equally to see students who “think” they might know about a topic actually grasp a complicated concept.