Many of us remember the endless hours of classroom lectures and textbook readings. What if those lessons and pictures came to life?
Two Surfside Middle School science teachers are doing just that this week for their annual "Bay Day." Their students are literally immersed in the study of St. Andrews Bay, getting to put their feet in the water and survey the underwater life.
"If there's a fish swimming in front of you, you're going to pay more attention to that, then a teacher going on about huge words," said Wesley Horn, a seventh grader.
"In the classroom, you can only read and look at it and say I wish I was there," said Faith Braezeal.
Each year, science teachers Linda Yori and Glenn Faust take their students on a field trip to Carl Gray Park or the area behind Florida State University's Panama City Campus.
"Bay Day is an opportunity for the kids to literally get immersed in St. Andrews Bay and the ecology of it," said Yori.
Students work with their teachers and biologists and use a variety of nets and tools to survey sea grass and creatures that are directly tied to the health and biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico.
"This way they [students] get their background knowledge in science so when we do read about it and write about it, they have something to anchor their knowledge on to," said Yori.
While the students are soaking up a lot of useful information, they're having a lot of fun, too.
"The coolest thing was going out into the water and using nets," said Alex Smith.
Students were able to survey different species of fish, a horseshoe crab, shrimp, and a few seahorses.
Each year, the trip brings the classroom lessons to life and teaches students that science can be pretty fun.
"I used to be terrible at science, and now I'll be better," said Horn.
The seventh graders also spent time working with biologists and pulling invasive water plants from the Military Pond at Gulf Coast State College.