Classroom Visit at Zora Neale Hurston Elementary School
April 19, 2023
On Wednesday, April 19th, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society had the pleasure of visiting Zora Neale Hurston Elementary School for a classroom session with 82 of their fourth graders. We met with three classes and each one was split into two groups, and each group was able to meet with Meredith Bass from Blue Scholars Initiative to participate in a game called Fishbowl which tested their knowledge of vocabulary referring to pollution. While half the class worked with Blue Scholars Initiative, the other half of the class participated in an interactive activity with Sarah, our Program Support Specialist, and Lillian, our Education Assistant. Using our 3D topographic model representing the city of Miami we modeled the concept of runoff, how pollution produced by our communities can contaminate the water of Biscayne Bay. The students were encouraged to identify sources of pollution in our model such as power plants, cars, dog feces, litter, and fertilizers. In order to simulate just how dirty these things make our city, our students used sprinkles, Kool-Aid powder, cocoa powder and soy sauce to sprinkle where they believe these pollutants originate. Our students then “made it rain” with spray bottles, which demonstrated how rain carries pollutants from all over our city into our canals and rivers and ultimately into Key Biscayne. We finished by discussing the impacts of pollutants on our Bay. Students identified how plastic pollution can cause animals to die from consumption or entanglement, and we discussed how fertilizer runoff can lead to harmful algal blooms. We finished by discussing ways in which we can prevent pollution in Biscayne Bay, and students named changes in human behavior that would decrease the pollution created in their communities! We had a great time working with the fourth graders from Zora Neale Hurston and hope to work with them again in the future!
We hope that the fourth grade students of Zora Neale Hurston gain a better understanding of watershed science and the concept of runoff, and how our actions can cause pollution of our oceans. We hope they walk away with a desire to conserve our oceans, starting with our actions.