Tuscaloosa County High School

Hanging onto vines smaller plants use on rainforest trees to get up to the sun.

              "Stretching our classroom tentacles across the world" --Project Summary:
I traveled to Tom Owens Caye, which is off the coast of Southern Belize and forms the tip of the Belizean Barrier reef, the largest, healthy living reef. My fellowship took me to this coral reef ecosystem, because I wanted to gain experiential knowledge related to my marine biology course. I had built up a lot of factual marine biology knowledge while teaching the course for the last two years, but wanted to have a richer understanding of the ecosystems I was teaching about. I wanted to be able to tell my students stories about the organisms they were learning about. I wanted to gain more of an ownership of my marine biology knowledge. My experience thus far, had really only been second-hand knowledge that I had been taught or read. I needed more confidence about what I was teaching and wanted to teach with an excitement about our subject-matter, like I would be letting my students in on secrets I had learned! I strive for excellence in everything I do and want the same for my students. I wanted them to get the richest experience possible while taking the marine science course, so I dove in head first to make it an exceptional experience and create an environment in which they would be active, experiential learners too. My two-week stay on Tom Owns Caye taught me so much in such a short time. Equipped in scuba gear, we dove three times a day to various sites and depths, surveying as much as possible. Each dive had its own objectives. We spent our “land time” learning about what we would see, anatomical information, conservations issues, measuring, and navigation techniques. The most inspiring part of my Fellowship was being immersed in the complex aquatic world functioning right below us. We know that these underwater ecosystems are there, but being able to actively observe and study the anatomy, relationships, and behavior of creatures that we land-dwellers never get to be in the company of, left me awe-struck. My experience left me wanting more and so excited about my subject matter. I satisfied my fellowship goals and uncovered new aspects that I am currently exploring. I came home with my own personal library of pictures and videos that I can use in lessons. I am filled with a wealth of knowledge about organisms that will go in our Touch Tank. I established contacts that will be participating in web conferences with my class. I also explored the mainland’s rainforest and Mayan ruins and built media libraries for our biology and world history courses.

The Ripple Effect of a Marine Biology Fellowship

Marine biology teacher seeks grants to enhance learning

Last modified: Tuesday, November 25, 2014, 1:28 PM