Da Vinci Freshmen Visit Port Aransas, Texas
Freshmen students attended Project Based Learning (PBL) activities at Port Aransas by the Gulf of Mexico. They encountered beautiful marine life while learning about ecosystems, adaptations of animals and plants, interactions of non-living factors with living organisms, and the interdependence of humans and oceans.
The students boarded the Katy boat – a research vessel for the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI) to collect samples of microscopic and larger organisms to classify them onto a food web. The highlight of the boat trip was watching dolphins swimming side by side with the boat for 15 minutes!
The second activity was on the beach, where students made observations of sea creatures that they collected, and learned about “Survival of the fittest” and food webs.
The wetlands was our third activity, UTMSI personnel talk to us about marshes, salinity and PH of the ocean water and how plants and animals survive in these types of conditions.
The UTMSI visitor center contains an array of displays: sand from different parts of Texas, fish, educational interactive programs, even the skeleton of a whale! And of course, lots of souvenirs to buy.
Although the view of the ocean and the activities were unbelievably beautiful, we saw the not so beautiful part of Port Aransas which was marine and land pollution, some students cut and recovered fishing lines that were stuck on rocks and possibly killed a turtle that we took to the UTMSI lab where they will study it and find out the cause of death, we collected a lot of plastic products that are not bio-degradable and are killing land and sea organisms.
The students are brainstorming possible pollution solutions. Our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) System will be put to the test in this grand endeavor!
Submitted by Ms. Norma Brown, Da Vinci Science Teacher