Ocean Science Team Earns Class Credit

By Rreze Kadrijaj ‘19

              This school year brought new members to the Ocean Science Team and an Ocean Science class for members and curious students taught by Ms. Kimberly Lau.

              Years before the class was introduced as an elective, Mr. Alan Stack created the Ocean Science Team to give students an outlet for learning new topics and challenging themselves. As a team, students would meet three times a week and teach themselves. The team had to be equipped with the knowledge of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, environmental science, oceanology, marine biology, and atmospheric science.

              The students in the class are hand-picked if they are deemed able to handle an extra class because the class embodies three college classes into one, 45 minute class that is extremely fast paced.

              Fern Bromley ’18 said, “Everyone [now] knows the general concepts of everything, whereas before each person would know single topics super in depth.”

              Last year’s team hoodie is what Ms. Lau believes has attracted more students to be interested in Ocean Science, both the class and the team.

             Due to a larger selection of students Ms. Lau has a new method of choosing students for the team and whether they belong in Team A or Team B  subgroups within the team that is based on knowledge and abilities. Ms. Lau uses a pre-test, before the curriculum starts, then a series of exams after every three  or four chapters and a post-test.

            A benefit to having an Ocean Science class is members of the team get course credit. With this, Ms. Lau is requiring the students to do more work. Allowing the students to create questions is an activity she has done differently from the past years. This enables students to have multiple perspectives of what might be asked of them.

              Ms. Lau said, “[with this activity] they [members] also get use to how the wording is set up and they get use to the format.”

            All team members must be taking the Ocean Science class as an elective. The class meets Monday through Thursday, additionally only team members meet on Fridays periods nine and ten.

          According to Celine Lam ’18, captain of the team, timing is everything because the team only starts preparing in September while the Bay Scallop Bowl, a regional competition of the National Ocean Science Bowl, starts in February. Not only is timing important in preparing but also for the competitions, the team has to make quick decisions in “six minute rounds” where they have to answer in a matter of seconds.

In the past three years the team has done well at the Bay Scallop Bowl; winning fifth place in 2017, first place in 2016, and first place in 2015. Both Ms. Lau and Lam are confident with the team’s ability to do great at this year’s bowl on February 3, 2018 at Stony Brook University.

       Despite the fact the Ocean Science family has doubled its size, the team believes nothing has changed, they have just become a bigger family, where people get to show off their individual talents.

“We really get to know each other first before we play, the most important part is trusting each other,” said Saleh Salem ’18, “A lot of other school’s lack trust and bond.”

         While attending competitions, team members noticed other teams becoming frustrated with each other when someone gets a question wrong. Bromley stated how as a team they don’t get upset when they get a question wrong because they trust each other and their instincts. The team assumes that the person answering at least thought they understood what they were doing.

         This year the team will only have to beat ten other teams to win, roughly 20 rounds.

          Although the competition questions can be very unpredictable the team members are confident about the teams success this year. The members have a lot of fun working together and at the end of day whether they win or lose, they’re still friends.

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