The Grade 11 Biology (SBI3U) and Environmental Science (SVN3M) classes at Holy Name of Mary College School ventured into downtown Toronto on a field trip to Ripley’s Aquarium. Led by Senior Biology teacher Ms. Carere, the excursion provided an intersectional approach to learning, bringing curriculum expectations and learning goals to life. Students were able to encounter real world applications of academic concepts such as evolution and ocean conservation
Learning outside the classroom is not something we get to do everyday, and I found I was very engaged and was actually able to see the animals we were studying. With the help of the aquarium staff, I was able to learn so much about the species I chose, as well as practical information I could not have found through research on the internet.
Prior to the trip, our Senior Art teacher, Ms. Hurley, taught students about the historical importance of biological drawings. Students were taught the principles of scientific drawings and how to create their own. Lending an appreciation for the unique combination of fine arts and science, students learned of important artists such as Conrad Martens who drew for Charles Darwin during his explorations of the Galapagos Islands on the HMS Beagle. Each student was asked to bring a clipboard and materials to do a field sketch of a marine species as part of their culminating research project. Their drawings will make up part of an environmentally focused research report on the question, “How might we use what we learned in Grade 11 Biology to protect the ocean ecosystem?”
When we give students meaningful questions and opportunities to learn beyond the classroom, we fortify our own ecosystem of learning. The perspectives and experiences of each student are so unique. Breaking through the classroom celebrates this important individual learning. The aquarium field trip, biological drawing and associated research project provides an invaluable experience to bring the Grade 11 science curriculum to life. An opportunity for connection, academic curiosity and proof that field trips are not just for elementary students, but for learners of all ages.
- Ms. Jaclyn Carere, OCT, Senior Biology Teacher at HNMCS
The trip to the aquarium was an amazing experience! It allowed us to connect what we learned in class to the outside world. I chose the stingray as my research project and I was able to actually interact with them at the aquarium.