Teacher dives into Gulf of Mexico for a trip of a lifetime


Nicolas Sokolowski, Staff Reporter

An opportune trip down to the Gulf of Mexico that’s offered to teachers was recently taken by biology teacher Ethan Peters.

This educational trip offered to teachers is designed to educate teachers of the flower gardens, by showing them what happens and allowing them to bring knowledge back.

“I had to learn some fish identification, and then we got to spend about 4 days in the gulf, 116 miles off the coast,” Peters said.

The educational trip is sponsored by oil drilling ConocoPhillips, which operates oil rig operations in the Gulf.

“The oil companies sponsor these trips so that they can give teachers exposure to the actual environment of the coral reefs.
It allows them to gain experience.” Program Manager, Mike Smith from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation said.

They do classroom workshop training and then after that they start an underwater workshop. Overall the idea is to take the experience they gain out of it and let it go towards the kids, because they have the opportunity to share what they saw on the trip and get the students excited about it.

“There are particular reefs that are deeper than others. Most in the Caribbean are from 15 to 30 feet deep, however, the one’s in the Gulf of Mexico are from 17 to 90 feet deep,” Peters said.
Of course, there were other people on the trip. About 19 others tagged along in total, but around 15 of them were just crew- members, dive instructors, captains, chefs, etc.
“We studied the coral reefs, their types and the way it grows. It was unlike any other I’ve ever seen,” Peters said.

This can be incorporated many different ways into the classroom, such as letting the kids research the trips teachers go on, and letting the teachers share firsthand the opportunity they went through.

“A big part of experiencing science is that it gives value, and Mr.Peters can share that with his classes,” school improvement facilitator, Jeanie McGough said.

I agree that you can definitely enhance a classroom by contributing what you learned from an experience.

“And with that, teachers can transfer a 1 to 1 insight on something that took place hundreds or even thousands of miles away,” McGough said.”