Our CREW member Jim has written a blog about his initial experience with us on this research mission:
“It is an incredible opportunity to spend time with scientists who are doing the research that gives us the science that we know and teach. What we teach in our classrooms often comes in the form of laboratory activities and projects, videos and other media, discussions and readings but they still are restricted to the world of school. Most ecologically informed people can describe an issue like coral bleaching but few have the opportunity to look at a coral with an expert, see how bleaching was first recognized, how it progressed and be shown examples of how it is recovering.
Field Experiences Connect the Classroom to the Real World
Students would benefit greatly by having field experiences in which they can interact and work side by side with scientists. It takes science education beyond the realm of school. As students have more field experiences, they make a more personal connection to the material they are learning. It would also provide an opportunity for students to participate in the discovery part of science.
Fortunately, I am working at a school in which field experiences are not only encouraged, but they are the norm. Last year we started a scuba club at School Without Walls and four students became PADI certified in the Cayman Islands. They know that these opportunities are available to them. If they do not make a direct personal connection to the material, they will indeed have a classmate that has and will share it with them. This material becomes a part of their conversations outside of school or in the lunchroom.
School is based around the classroom as it is probably the most efficient place to provide lots of material to students, but it is the field experiences that can give them meaning. Years after graduating, it is usually the field experiences that students remember.”
(Photos by 1 & 3 – Jim Evans; 2-Brian Beck)
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