Seventh Grade Field Trip to the National Geographic Encounter
On Monday, November 6, 2017, Aaron School’s seventh graders in M206 took a class field trip to the National Geographic Encounter: Ocean Odyssey. Here, the Middle School students traveled through the Pacific Ocean on an interactive and immersive underwater experience! They were able to virtually interact with much of the marine life seen in the Pacific Ocean from the west coast of North America all the way to the coast of Australia, without getting wet!
First, the group traveled into the coral reef, learning about this diverse ecosystem and watching it come to life before their very eyes! They chased the stingrays and watched in awe as the coral lit up beneath their feet. Soon after it was night, where the only light that penetrated the water was from the moon. It was very dark so all that the middle schoolers could do was listen to the sounds of these incredible creatures and their habitat. The adventure continued into the deep ocean, 300 meters below sea level, where no light is able to reach. Here, students experienced bioluminescence, which is light emitted from organisms due to chemical reactions within their bodies. At this depth, one of the most dangerous underwater organisms resides, the Humboldt Squid. M206 had a firsthand experience of this creature’s feeding habits and social interactions.
Following the deep ocean experience, the students witnessed the cycle of life in the ocean. They saw the direct food chain that exists in this marine ecosystem. The group witnessed a school of fish being preyed upon by different ocean predators. At the end of this exhibit, they were swallowed by a giant Humpback Whale! They then traveled through the kelp forest, where M206 had to find their way out through a mirrored maze. Once they made it through to the other side they got to virtually interact with sea lions and teach them tricks using their body motions.
The last exhibit was an interactive learning experience where the students had the opportunity to learn more about the marine life living in the Pacific Ocean, as well as information about how they can keep the oceans clean and safe. At the end of the trip, seventh graders took a class pledge to stop using plastic bags and bottles! Overall, the students and teachers had an amazing experience on this trip. Students shared their favorite moments, such as being swallowed by the Humpback Whale, navigating their way through the kelp forest maze, and training the sea lions to do tricks! They learned a lot about Pacific marine life and were totally engaged throughout the entire trip!