7th Grade Marine Science Curriculum

St. Johns County School District’s
MARINE SCIENCE PROGRAM

MIDDLE SCHOOL PROGRAM
(students entering the 7th grade in August of 2017)

TWO WEEK SESSIONS:
May 30 to June 8
June 12 to June 22
June 26 to July 7   

Students are assigned to small classes of approximately 12 students by grade level. Each class rotates to another instructor every two days. To accommodate the large number of students applying to the program and still keep class sizes small, we will have two seventh grade groups, A and B. Each group will do identical activities but on different days with different instructors.

FIRST ROTATION:

FISH BIOLOGY, SALTWATER FISH MANAGEMENT, WINDSURFING AND SAILING SKILLS AND SAFETY

Day 1
After a discussion of our local fish habitats and best catch-and-release techniques, students will take an all-day trip aboard the Marine Science Program’s 27’ Carolina Skiff to Salt Run and adjacent areas of the Intracoastal Waterway. They will sample for primary and secondary detrital feeders at various points along the Intracoastal Waterway using cast nets, seine nets, recreational fishing gear, Ponar grab samplers, and suction tubes. All specimens will be released on site, but students will record results for an ongoing data base.

Day 2
The instructor will present and discuss a video about windsurfing and sailing skills and safety procedures. They will conduct an experiment demonstrating Bernoulli’s Principle showing how the difference between high and low pressure creates suction or lift that is utilized by sails. Students will then travel to Anastasia State Park where they will participate in a three-hour sailing and windsurfing lesson at Salt Run taught by Windsurfing St. Augustine instructors.

 

SECOND ROTATION:

SALT MARSH ECOLOGY, KAYAKING SKILLS AND SAFETY, FISH BIOLOGY II, SEAFOOD PREPARATION

 

Day 1
Students will participate in lecture and activities on the energy flow in salt marshes. This will include a video presentation and identification activities of local marine plants and animals. The instructor will then discuss kayaking skills and safety procedures. Students will take a kayaking trip to the marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway adjacent to Bings Landing south of Marineland. There they will use cast nets, seine nets, and Ponar grab samplers to collect specimens for identification. All specimens will be released on site.

Day 2
After an introductory lecture on dune formation, erosion, and ecology, students will participate in salt tolerant plant identification activities and discuss the various plants’ importance to dune communities. The instructor will then present and discuss a video about windsurfing and sailing skills and safety procedures. Students will then travel to Anastasia State Park where they will view the primary and secondary dune systems. Students will then participate in a three-hour sailing and windsurfing lesson at Salt Run taught by Windsurfing St. Augustine instructors.

THIRD ROTATION:

FLORIDA’S AQUIFER SYSTEM, SNORKELING SKILLS AND SAFETY, COASTAL DUNE ECOLOGY

Day 1
After a lecture on the formation and anatomy of freshwater springs and their unique animal and plant life, the instructor will discuss snorkeling skills and safety procedures. Students will then travel to Silver Glen Springs Park where they will actively participate in snorkeling, view freshwater plants and animals in their natural habitats, and discuss the importance of Florida’s aquifer system and freshwater springs.

Day 2
Students will discuss coastal dune geography and the characteristic plants and animals of high energy beaches. They will then travel to Anastasia State Park for guided trips into the dune and beach areas with park naturalists. After lunch at the park, students will return to school to participate in a lab experiment analyzing biotic and abiotic factors present in dune ecology.

FOURTH ROTATION:

FRESH WATER ECOLOGY, CPR CERTIFICATION

Day 1
Students will participate in lecture and discussion about the connections between the freshwater rivers of Florida and the health of our saltwater ecosystems. Students will then explore Deep Creek, a freshwater ecosystem that is one of the St. Johns River Water Management District’s water recharge areas. They will travel down this historic creek by kayak. The creek is a tannic riverine system that drains western St. Johns County and was the location of a logging town in the early 1900’s when ancient cypress trees were cut and milled for northern cities. They will observe and discuss the functions and uniqueness of an automated data collection station in the swamp located on an abandoned railroad trestle, part of the early Flagler system of railroads.

Day 2
Students will qualify for CPR certification and first aid skills with an EMT instructor. Students will also become familiar with and practice using AED’s. After displaying CPR proficiency through practice on mannequins and a written test, students will receive their two-year CPR cards. Students will also participate in a discussion and video presentation of hazardous marine animals (prevention and treatment). They will then travel to Anastasia State Park for an orientation with St. Johns County lifeguards and a water safety demonstration and lesson.

ALL CLASSES:

Students will develop skills for using various marine ecology instruments and tools such as: hydrometer, secchi disk, Kemmerer water sampling bottle, water quality test kits, dissolved oxygen kits, Ponar grab sampler, YSI flow meter, plankton nets, pH meters, cast and seine nets, plant presses, handheld GPS units, and quadrate sampling equipment.