Paying it Forward
The eight and ninth grade classes welcomed 24 Kindergarten students to the upper campus to learn more about the Coral Porject through film, games, mini-labs, and art and engineering design challenges.
Our ninth grade students partnered with the first grade class to teach them more about the coral project and invite them to participate in the Coral Restoration Foundation's Plastic Free Tree Challenge. They are excited to work with the stduents. The preseantion shed awarness on the challenge as well at the grant received from the Annette Urso Rickel Foundation that has allowed the student to start the Coral Project.
Today students are developing a method to submerge treated and untreated bamboo in salt water tanks to test the durablity of bambooas an alternative to PVC in the current Coral Tree Model that the Coral Restoration Foundation is using. CRF has recently challenged the students of Florida with coming up with an alternative and we have enetered the challenge!
Skyping with CRF
Today the 8th and ninth grade students Skyped with the Coral Restoration Foundation located in Key Largo Florida. The students were able to learn all about the foundation and the current research that they are workin on from researchers Austin, and Whitney. The studnets were eager to share their ideas for the Plastic free tree design! We look forward to skyping again in the future!
Today's mission for the 8th and ninth grade students included preparation of the water in the coral tanks, as well as stabalizing them on the tables, and beginning the building of the living wall in the lab that will work directy with the aquaponics tanks that will be installed later in the year.
Today in class the 8th grade chemistry students continued to work on the plastic free tree for the Coral Restoration Design Challenge. Currently CRF grows coral on large plastic trees in the ocean made of PVC (see photo below). Although the design is very effective in increasing coral growth rates, it poses a potential threat to marine life. They understand that the potential threat of a hurricane would not only would it destroy the growing coral, but would carry away all of the plastic PVC in to the ocean. Aware of this potential problem, the Coral Restoration Foundation has challenged students in the state of Florida to rethink the current design. Both the 8th grade chemistry students and 9th grade biology student are working on developing a suitable and sustainable engineering design. In addition to identifying possible materials, the students have been developing a research plan to test the material in salt water for sustainability. Currently in chemistry the students are learning lab skills as well as the importance of SI units, significant figures, conversions and density which we will apply directly to our plastic free design challenge.
Students measuring the lab Space for Architect
Daniella Russo, a ninth grader at Palm Beach Day, offered her architect grandfather to help us with our lab room designs. After touring the room he asked that our students take the easements so that he could help us with the design ideas.
Today the ninth grade had biology class at the beach. Currently we are studying ecology, and what better way to examine biotic and abiotic factors than first hand. In preparation for the trip the students built four quadrats to take with us to the beach. The quadrats are a tool used to quantify a standard distribution of living or nonliving things in a given area. The ninth grade will be using data analysis skills to identify the total population within the area marked. This technique is used to evaluate growth of coral. We also took the opportunity to ted the salinity and take our own measurement to compare to the google earth measurements. Unfortunately, during our short trip, we found a large amount of plastic on the beach.
Today we were grateful to have 9th grader Daniella Russo's grandfather visit our lab. Mr. Nader, an architect from New York, took the time to visit our coral lab and spend some time with the ninth grade to develop a plan for the lab space. We are very thankful for his time ad are eager to see what ideas he has in store for us.
Today Dr. Anette Urso Rickel visited our lab to see the updates we have made following the receipt of a generous grant from the Annette Urso Rickel Foundation. When asked about her visit she responded, “I’m delighted to be here and learn about the Coral Project, and to see the young people so involved in making a difference.” Thanks to her generosity we have the means to launch the Coral Project here at Palm Beach Day Academy.
Today our 8th and 9th graders had the opportunity to hear from Charlotte Nowak, a program coordinator from the Island School, about the amazing experience that the Cape Eleuthera Institute offers. In the spring, the 9th grade will travel to the Island School for a week to participate in marine research while experiencing sustainable living.
Our students shared our Coral Project with Charlotte and explained the Coral Restoration Foundation's design challenge that their class is participating in. We were happy to learn that the Island School also has a coral restoration program and is growing stag horn coral on PVC trees in the waters at Cape Eleuthera. Charlotte shared their design with us and was very interested to hear about our students' ideas for what they will be testing and designing.
Charlotte was also interviewed by 9th grader, Danny Beck, for our podcast series. The podcast will be coming out soon, and will be accessible through the podcast Link on this website.
We had originally scheduled a beach trip for the 9th grade to conduct ecology research. Unfortunately we had to postpose due to Red tide symptoms being reported by beach goers.
Red tide is a harmful algal bloom, referred to as HAB. The species of microorganism known as Karenia brevis, is a dinoflagellate that produces a toxin that, when present in high quantities, can have devastating effects on the marine fish and mammals as can cause respiratory symptoms in humans. When airborne, the toxic that is produced can cause bronchial constriction, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
Harmful algal bloom is associated with warm ocean surface temperatures, high nutrients, and low salinity and is more common in the summer months.
It is important to note that there are many algal microorganisms within the marine waters that are very beneficial to marine life supporting the base of the food chain. However, this particular species produces a toxin that has adverse effects in the ecosystem,
Picture of the beach north of us per Daniella Russo.
Ecology lessons in preparation for our beach trip on Monday.
Today we welcomed Dr. Gregory from The Reef Institute, formally called Healthy Aquatics Marine Institute to the 8th and 9th grade classrooms. Dr. Gregory introduced the students to our year-long project in coral research. We will be housing a coral seed bank in the lab space that is being outfitted to become a coral lab. The goal is to have students involved every step of the way, which is why today was spent building, calibrating and hooking up parts of the tank systems. First period chemistry was in charge of the lights for the coral tanks. Second period was responsible for the filter and pump set up and fourth period chemistry helped begin pairing our on-line APEX fusion system. The ninth grade followed with hooking up all the probes to the APEX system and making sure all the sensors were calibrated and ready to go.
We must also mention the amazing coral mural that Ms. Kim Belfi spent the weekend adding to the classroom. The students were all amazed at how beautiful the classroom looks. Thank you to Ms. Belfi for helping make the coral lab so inspirational.
Overall, today was the day when the flag was lifted and we were cheered on for the great year ahead...One that will include learning, building, testing, retesting, innovating, designing, gathering data, and most of all having a great time together making a difference.
STEAM camp this summer focused on innovation and discovery with a strong focus on marine science. The first weeks camp included students ages K-2nd grade, and the second week included students 3rd - 5th grade. On Wednesday each week we read a book about titled the Brilliant Deep which taught the students about a current scientist Ken Nedenmyer and his idea for repopulating coral in response to coral bleaching that has been occurring.
Healthy Aquaponics marine institute provided a guest lecturer to engage the student in a touch tank and help populate the tanks with various species of coral. Following the marine lab scavenger hunt and touch tanks we began building our submarines that applied coding and circuits, and fish and coral identification.
The pictures below are a section of the 5 day week that pertained to marine science exploration.
Today was a special day for our students at Palm Beach Day Academy. The upper campus screened the film Casing Coral which captures the process and of filming coral reefs around the world that are suffering from the affects of rising ocean temperatures, which is causing coral bleaching at an incredibly large scale.