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Back You are here: Home Features Events and Features Life on the Island Students in Mrs. Cannon's AIG class learn about Local Marine life through hands-on experiences

Students in Mrs. Cannon's AIG class learn about Local Marine life through hands-on experiences

Students in Mrs. Cannon's AIG class learn about local marine life through hands-on experiences.

During the 2012-2013 school year, Kama Cannon, Gifted Education Specialist at Carolina Beach Elementary School (CBES), and her Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students heard about Ashley High School's new Marine Science Academy. The class had the idea to start their own Marine Science Program at the elementary school level.  The new program is cross-curricular and project-based, with inquiry lessons, guest lecturers from our North Carolina universities, extensive field experiences, and internships. CBES has since partnered with the Fort Fisher Aquarium to offer hands-on learning experiences for the students in the program.
 “The students [participating in the program] are growing as divergent and evaluative thinkers,” said Principal Cindy Wartel. “Their research and service learning projects have been outstanding, and their overall enthusiasm to continue studying science is strong.”
 The AIG Marine Science Program at CBES has been so successful that expansion efforts are underway. CBES is currently working with middle and high school faculty to ensure that students have a continuation of marine science programming as they transition to the secondary level, keeping them engaged in STEM curriculum related to marine science.  The team of teachers hopes the program will specifically encourage young girls interested in marine science careers to continue to pursue their goals.
 “This idea began after our class visited Cape Fear Community College's Marine Technology Program and the professors there noticed how many young girls were interested in careers in or connected to marine science,” said Ms. Cannon.  “The more I looked into the data, the more I learned that during middle and high school, girls typically outnumber boys in STEM classes during early adolescence, but will drop out of STEM if they are not supported with engaging, high level instruction in an area of interest.”
 The CBES Marine Science Program is an example of how students, staff, and the community can collaborate to create meaningful, real world experiences that contribute to the development of college and career readiness.