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ACES Connects Indiana Students with the Ocean
Freshmen Biology students at Eastbrook High School in Marion Indiana successfully connected with the ocean despite their geographical distance. Through ACES, 175 students learned about the importance of the ocean ecosystem on Earth and the relationship the ocean has to their lives. Ms. Goshorn and Mr. Luthy implemented ACES in their Biology classrooms after participating in ACES training. They both feel strongly about the benefits of the program and importance of ocean literacy. "The students really enjoyed tracking their animal," Ms. Goshorn shares, "They were surprised how far many of the animals traveled or how close some stayed to the original tracking area."
Ms. Goshorn and Mr. Luthy took the opportunity to explain the inconsistencies involved in using satellite tags to track live animals. "It was fun to see them react when their animal would end up in Wyoming instead of the Pacific or in the middle of Florida instead of the Atlantic," they commented. Satellite tracking is an amazing way to get an inside glimpse at where and how animals live that scientists and students would otherwise not have the opportunity to see. Species experts in Ms. Goshorn and Mr. Luthy's classes asked a lot of good questions specifically about polar bear data. As students observed, there are some places in the Polar Regions where the maps appear black. This is the result of missing or incomplete data from the satellites. As satellite technology progresses and scientists learn more and more about remote regions of the world, students will continue to have access to this exciting data.
As ACES students, expert teams focused on Bathymetry, Sea Surface Temperature, Species, and Phytoplankton. By working in teams and focusing on specific factors within the marine ecosystem, students gained a valuable appreciation for how each factor affects the life of marine organisms. "Many students didn't realize the depth of the oceans so the bathymetry study was so good for them," commented Ms. Goshorn. "Also, phytoplankton increase and decrease was a surprise to some students. The sea surface expert teams also learned a lot."
Students were absolutely thrilled to receive responses from scientists to their journals entries. Ms. Goshorn stated, "One parent commented to me that her daughter really enjoyed ACES and how much she had learned about the oceans and animals." Other teachers were also impressed by the program, "Several staff members commented about how great the wall displays were and how great the students did." Both Ms. Goshorn and Mr. Luthy found that ACES met the needs of all of their diverse learners and brought ocean literacy to their classrooms, something that they struggle with given their location. Ms. Goshorn and Mr. Luthy can't wait to include more ACES lessons in their curriculum next year.