Hands-on learning in Galapagos classroom

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Edwin Scherzer | July 29, 2014

WILLIAMS BAY -- Picture yourself surrounded by pristine blue water and sandy beaches. You're snorkeling with friends, it's the perfect day, when suddenly you emerge from the surf and come face to face with ... a teacher.

This beach-bound instructor is a genius in biology and asks what species you just observed underneath the waves.

That's what a group of Williams Bay students, their science teacher Barbara Kelly and the science-minded folks at Ecology Project International, or EPI, worked on during a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

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Nine Williams Bay students and Kelly traveled to the archipelago at the end of the school year to work alongside EPI field scientists and other students to perform collaborative experiments and projects.

The connection to the program started with Kelly, who firmly believes that learning in the classroom is important, while learning in the field is life changing. "It's very, very, very hands on," Kelly said. "I did not want a sight-seeing trip, I wanted a full immersion science trip, yet still be fun, because I think there's a lot of science that's not in a book."

For the students, it wasn't just a trip of a lifetime; it was working in the field, collecting data for the purpose of applying the scientific method and giving group and individual presentations.

Their days included classroom lessons, preparing to defend their hypothesis and working with giant tortoises, finches and spiders.

Read the complete story HERE.

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