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Coral Diseases: Incorporating Scientific Research and Authentic Learning into the High School Science Classroom

The Science Teacher—July/August 2024 (Volume 91, Issue 4)

By Ashley Booker, Katherine Eaton

This article discusses an innovative approach to science education focused on engaging students through authentic learning experiences and hands-on activities. It emphasizes the importance of linking classroom instruction with real-world science research practices, particularly in the context of coral reef ecosystems through an authentic learning opportunity. The article shares insights from piloting a coral reef ecosystem lesson with high school biology students, noting their enthusiastic engagement and skill development in data interpretation and communication. The lab activity is an opportunity for students to simulate underwater research techniques and analyze authentic data to assess the health of coral reef ecosystems. The article underscores the urgency of educating students about threats facing coral reefs, including climate change, pollution, and human activities. Whether we live near an ocean or far away it is important to help students understand how the ocean is connected to our daily lives. By integrating ocean literacy principles into the curriculum, educators can empower students to understand the interconnectedness of marine ecosystems and human behaviors, encouraging informed citizenship and environmental stewardship. This article advocates for transformative science education that cultivates critical thinking, scientific inquiry, and a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

Earth & Space Science Interdisciplinary Pedagogy Research High School

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