Surfside Middle School students get hands-on experience in St. Andrew Bay

Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Surfside Middle School is having its annual Bay Days this week to teach students about the science behind St. Andrew Bay.

Bay Days is a decades-old tradition the school does every year to get students out of the classroom to explore the ecosystem of the bay.

Most of the Bay Day activities involve students catching different types of marine life and analyzing them using skills they learned in class.

Surfside Middle School science teacher Erin Lange said it is great to get the kids out from behind their desks.

“We are actually talking about cells right now,” Lange said. “At one of the stations, we are looking at single-celled organisms and they are looking at plankton and stuff under the microscope. We are looking at multicellular organisms by catching them in our nets and we are talking about every organism’s place in the food chain.”

Lange said having kids experience the material taught in class firsthand is very impactful.

Kenna Vandel is a student at Surfside and said getting outside and learning hand-on helps her remember the information better.

“I feel like if I’m more hands-on, it helps me get it stuck in my head and it stays in my head for a test or something, but if we do it on paper, I have to study it more,” Vandel said.

Lange agreed.

“You are so much more likely to remember something if you hold it in your hand and you see it in front of you and you experience it and you are wet and sandy the whole time than if you are if you just read about it in a book,” Lange said. “I’m glad that we get to bring the kids out here so they can make some memories and help them learn some cool things.”

Bay Days will continue on Friday and next Monday.

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