Natural Sciences

Teachers creating new science curriculum from Lake Worth Lagoon

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

HOBE SOUND, Fla. — Three Palm Beach County students went on a seven-day 70-mile adventure through different interconnected ecosystems of northern Palm Beach County. The piece is expected to influence the education of seventh and 10th graders in their science classes.

Noah Langley was a senior when he starred in a new documentary about the Lake Worth Lagoon called ‘Hidden Wild.’

Sergio Piedra from Discover the Palm Beaches said, “Three teenage kids from here, the Palm Beach County School District going outdoors exploring places they had never seen before.”

Noah Langley is a former Palm Beach County School District student featured in the documentary, “It’s about the environment we are in and teaching people about it because how important it is because nobody knows [about these areas].”

The documentary now airing on PBS, is about the Lake Worth Lagoon and how the different ecosystems are connected with one another.

Jessica Noble is a science teacher Palm Beach Gardens High School – “[The students] are like, ‘Yeah the ocean is that way and the lake is that way but they really don’t know what’s in between.”

Teachers like Jessica are creating a new science curriculum for middle and high school students.

Heather Magill is a teacher Palm Springs Middle, “This curriculum is replacing our old Lake Worth Lagoon curriculum.”

Magill said, “Just making sure the students in Palm Beach County see the natural areas; the hidden beauties we have in Palm Beach County that they have no clue are even out there.”

The teachers taking field trips and following along with the documentary so they understand our environment.

Benji Studt, public outreach supervisor for Environmental Resource Management said, “These are teachers who are volunteering their time they are not getting paid. They are working overtime and extra time to write curriculum that is going to go with this documentary film.”

“So we can immerse ourselves as teachers into this curriculum,” said Magill.

Noble said, “They’re going to start making those connections on their own and that’s where we learn. When we start making those connections for ourselves instead of being told and this project will do that.”

“Being in an experience is where you learn, especially for me, I’m very tactile,” said Langley.

“And so this new curriculum will now be interjected into the biology classes and the 7th-grade science classes,” Magill said.

They will be learning about how humans have affected our environment causing outbreaks of red tide, Bluegreen algae, and more.

Magill said, – “Yes, we do talk about the encroachment in there as well as part of the human impact and how environmental changes impact the landscape.”

Using kayaks as vessels of learning as the seawater moves in closer to the freshwater along the Loxahatchee.

Noble said, “Watching the transition between the swaps and the mangroves we interesting because you could see the encroachment.”

But do the students understand how it affects them?

“At first they don’t. But it’s broken down in a way that by the time we try to get to that human impact piece we really try to make sure they have an emotional tie-in,” said Magill.

Noble said, “I really want my students to be able to feel the same way I do about where we live. And to really see it for what it is. And to understand the impacts we have on it. And that we have the ability to make a positive impact. We don’t have to leave it like we see it right now. And if there is something we could do we should.”

“It’s amazing that kids can learn about the plight of the polar bear but what if they don’t understand what’s going on and affecting the Loxahatchee River or the everglades,” said Studt.

“Monday morning my kids are going to be like, ‘Hey, Miss Noble, i just went to this park and it was so cool. And I want to hear from them the experiences we inspired,” said Nobile.

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt