January is a big month for Discovery Hall Programs and our traveling classroom, the BayMobile. This month, we brought the ocean to life in 28 schools across Alabama.
In one week, educator Chris Flight visited six different schools in three different cities connecting with about 2,000 student, parents, teachers, and staff. Flight worked with students from Muscle Shoals Middle School and High School, Deshler Middle School and High School in Tuscumbia, Sheffield High School, and Sheffield Jr. High School.
"It was a very busy week, but so worth it to see the faces of students who have never gotten to hold an octopus before when they lifted one off the tray," Flight said. "These students can now say they know a thing or two about what’s swimming or crawling around in the Gulf."
One highlight of Flight's trip was the invitation to Muscle Shoals Middle School's STEM night. The community event showcases all of the STEM programs and projects in the school.
Educator JoAnn Moody spent her week traveling through Washington County and Butler County. During one trip, Moody noticed a student carefully examining the shark jaws.
"He was eager to share that he had a collection of shark teeth, large, fossilized teeth he had collected in the woods and creeks near his home. I pulled out some of our fossil oysters from Sumter County and that led to a discussion about changes in sea level and how much the coastline of Alabama has changed over time."
The BayMobile's travel around the state and region is a great way to share the wonders of the oceans with students who may not have the means or the opportunity to visit coastal cities. BayMobile programs are free to Title 1 schools in Alabama.
Discovery Hall Programs acquired the current BayMobile five years ago with about 8,500 miles on it. Since then the BayMobile has traveled more than 50,000 miles across the southeast for marine science education and outreach.
The journey continues for the BayMobile throughout the year with stops at community events like the Maker Day at the Ben May Main Library in Mobile and the National Shrimp Festival in Gulf Shores to more school visits.
Do you want the BayMobile to visit your community or school? Visit disl.org/dhp/baymobile to request a visit.