Pickles, Scorpion, Rainbow, Tubbataha, Kingman. What do these words have in common? If I told you that they are in the category of the largest structures on earth of biological origin, would you know then?  We as humans live on land and these structures are under water. These magnificent “rainforests of the sea” are not in our view and that is part of why they are dying.

The current massive die offs of coral reefs has gained little media attention but they are extremely important for our planet.  At Unity Charter School, we have made it a point to educate our students and the public about the impacts of human behavior on natural systems. This year, our focus is on coral reefs.  One of the documentaries in our Summer Film Series was “Chasing Coral”. This movie led to discussions with parents, students, and staff about how little we actually knew about corals and the role they play in our environment.  Through investigations in school and at home, each learning group selected a coral reef that they wanted to be named after. Caledonia Reef, Pickles Reef and of course, The Great Barrier Reef are a few of the names selected.  

Technology integration specialist, Amy Mercado, states, “If the Amazon rainforest are the lungs of the earth, the coral reefs are the lungs of the ocean. Thus, providing life to our underwater organisms. In technology class, we integrate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to guide our students in learning to use technology as a tool for advocating for change. This year, goal # 14- Life Below Water informs us to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. This dovetails seamlessly into our coral reef study.”

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Our middle school students will continue their investigations of human impacts on natural systems this trimester.  They will be sharing their personal connections to the natural systems and limits to growth on the planet—and how those limits are congruent with the limits of biological capacity and replenishment rates of sources and sinks in their natural system.  We are proud to continue our partnership with the non-profit environmental group, Grades of Green, to participate in a campaign that will focus on the hydrosphere that will enhance our students, personal learning plans.   To solidify this year long study through experiential learning, Unity Charter School, will be taking our middle school students for an overnight field trip to Sea Camp in Cape Cod, MA. Students and staff will immerse themselves in the marine environment and learn about unique Cape Cod Coral.

We encourage everyone to join us on our journey of finding out more about the coral reefs!

According to the Unity Charter School website, the school is a tuition-free, public school in Morris Township that offers a unique approach to education for students from Kindergarten to 8th Grade throughout New Jersey. Enrollment is open to all New Jersey residents. 

For more information please visit: https://unitycharterschool.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnityCharterSchool/