For half the class it was a journey back in time; for the other half it was a glimpse into the future.
Third-grade students at Old Donation Center (ODC) skyped with Cox High School oceanography students to help brainstorm potential solutions to increase the oyster population in the Lynnhaven River.
Weeks earlier, the third-grade students embarked on an Oyster Problem Based Learning Unit by conducting research and making generalizations about oyster populations, oyster reefs, oyster community and aquatic ecosystems. Students observed and measured oyster spat and placed them in a Taylor Float in the Lynnhaven watershed.
Students were also tasked with brainstorming ways to restore the oyster reef in the Lynnhaven River. Students at Cox High School also were studying oysters at the same time, and served as a “panel of experts” for the third-grade students. Using Skype, the classes could talk to one another and ask and answer differing questions, including, why would an increase of oyster reefs, both in number and in size, be desirable in the local estuary system? And, why are oyster reefs important to the habitat?
According to ODC third-grade teacher Cynthia Dufour, by collaborating, high school students and third grade students were able to problem solve and share critical thinking relating to oyster restoration in the Lynnhaven River.
The students will continue to observe and measure the spats until the oysters can sustain themselves in the Lynnhaven River which will be in May.