Diving Into the Deep End of Education

When it comes to teaching students about biology, you might think about the things that you can show them on land, but the world is mostly covered in water and there is a plethora of life underwater that we can also spend time learning about. In America, we have the great benefit of being sandwiched by two of the five oceans on the planet and they are also the two largest. Actually, there are three because Alaska borders the Arctic Ocean. There is a long coastline on both sides that offers unique aquatic life, whether that is flora or fauna. You can explore lots of different species through the unique differences of the Atlantic, Pacific, or Arctic Oceans. That said, the US is much more than the coastlines. There is a large space of the country that does not have ocean access, but there are still large bodies of water there that you can study, such as rivers or lakes. Although Louisiana might not have the same aquatic life as Maine, you get a unique mix that creates local culture. That is why I think of lobster when I think of Maine and why I think more shrimp, crawfish, and gator in Louisiana. Maybe I just know aquatic life from eating them, but there are many more species to explore.

As much as we have explored the world, the water is where we have still barely scratched the surface. This is not just because of the surface area that water covers on the planet, but also the depth that the water reaches. There are not many machines able to withstand the temperatures and pressures of such a dive, but the unlikeliest of explorers entered the fray in the form of Terminator, Titanic, and Avatar director James Cameron. While known for his box office leading hits and innovations in 3D cameras, he also developed a passion for deep sea diving. The Mariana Trench reaches 11km under the surface of the water, which is the deepest point in the ocean and Cameron used a vessel to dive down to that depth, only the third person on the planet to do so. Why did this guy who makes incredible movies do such a dangerous thing? He realizes that there is value in exploring and advancing science. Why do we go to space? It is not to meet aliens. Sometimes the pursuit and curiosity lead to innovations that we need.