There’s a big world waiting to be discovered. By exploring what’s in their backyard Santa Monica High School students learned the importance of ocean conservation and how math and science can be used outside of the classroom. Benjamin Kay, Samohi’s life and environmental sciences instructor took his class on field a trip to the Santa Monica pier to discover and learn. As part of his hands-on approach to learning, students collected plankton samples and saw the diverse forms of planktonic organisms that live in the vast ocean. Plankton are floating or drifting plants and animals generally microscopic that live near the surface of the ocean or other bodies of water.

To begin, students worked in groups and used a plankton net made from wire and nylon stocking. Students then lowered the funnel-shaped fine-mesh net into the water and after a few minutes it was time to bring the nets up and collect all the plankton.

Students then made their way back to the classroom to take a closer look. They used microscopes and sketched what they saw.

Kay said experiences like this stay with students for life and teaches them the value and importance of conserving oceans.

“It’s something I remember as a high school student,” said Kay. “Sampling plankton with my marine biology teacher. Outdoor education and community learning help us retain those life memories.”

Watch students explore and learn here:

Written by Esmi Careaga, Communications Specialist