Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Holiday students explore all things aquatic at World of Knowledge


After their mornings on the gulf waters, the kids always come back with a vast assortment of marine life: shepherd minnows, snappers, pin fish and pipefish, not to mention crabs, snails and seahorses.

"What they all want to do is catch a shark," chuckles Nathanael Pauley, a teacher, coach and marine science camp coordinator at World of Knowledge, a Montessori school in Holiday.

Students at the camp have been getting an eight-week crash course in all things aquatic. They go fishing, swimming and snorkeling at tropical locales such as Sand Key, Honeymoon Island and Chassahowitzka Springs. Then they take their bounty of fish and other aquatic creatures back to the classroom, where they identify them before delivering them to their summertime home in school aquariums. Each child is assigned to maintain an aquarium in the back classroom.

Students use reference books to identify the fish and write about their finds. They are studying the scientific and mathematical principles of sealife on lab sheets with titles like "Am I faster than a tuna?" And they complete art projects in which they create everything from papier-mache facsimiles of their favorite fish to rocks made of sand and concrete that can be placed in their aquariums.

"I made something that looks like a Mickey!" exclaimed Sophie Gomez, 8, holding up an orange papier-mache fish that resembled a Mickey Mouse Platy.

The youngest participant at camp, Sophie also enjoyed an activity in which the kids hooked the fishing lines they planned to take to Durney Key.

"FYI," she told Pauley, "I think we're going to need more line to catch a shark."

Sophie's mother, Mary Gomez, said her daughter can't wait to get to camp each day. And there are bigger benefits.

"Her IOWA test scores were strong in science, and this is a great way to learn by doing," Gomez said.

While science-related issues are explored through camp activities — everything from fish dissection to water testing — campers are also tapping into other subject areas, Pauley said.

"Aside from science they have to use math for our lessons, and they have to read when they look things up. Sometimes they read more than they realize," said Pauley, who runs the camp with World of Knowledge teacher Jamianne Smallze. "So this prepares them for every career."

Sophie, for her part, says she'd like to become a science teacher. And 12-year-old Cami Pilat, who is the oldest kid at camp, wants to be a veterinarian.

"I like animals a lot," she said. "Here I learn to feed fish and take care of them."

Aside from feeding the fish twice a day and maintaining their tanks, the kids also worked under adult supervision to help put the lighting and filtration systems in the aquariums. Students examine the fish in their aquariums and other forms of sea life under microscopes. And they explore the answers to questions on the blackboard, such as "Are sponges plants or animals?"

"I think they are animals," said camper Jainxing Seiwa, adding, with a laugh, "Plus people use them in the shower."

In addition to all this learning, kids who attend the camp also get the adventure of a lifetime.

"Some of them have never been fishing or snorkeling before," said Pauley. "They're having fun."

Holiday students explore all things aquatic at World of Knowledge 07/27/12 [Last modified: Friday, July 27, 2012 8:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Before Janessa Shannon's death, parents traded accusations of abuse


    TAMPA — Long before Janessa Shannon's remains were discovered in a Hillsborough County nature preserve, her parents tried to convince court officials that she was in danger.

    From her own family.

    Janessa Shannon, 13, was found dead July 12 in the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Hillsborough County. [National Center for Missing and Exploited Children]
  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams


    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. ICYMI: Florida education news in review, week of July 16, 2017


    Seems like Broward County has started a domino effect. It was the first school board to commit to filing a lawsuit against the state and its controversial education bill, House Bill 7069. Then, the St. Lucie County School Board signed on, too. A running tally of school boards that have reportedly expressed interested in …

    Kali Davis (left), training director for Springboard to Success, helps to coach Justin Black (center), who will be starting his third year of teaching PE at Melrose Elementary, as he works to instruct students in a math lesson during the Spring Board program of Summer Bridge at Woodlawn Elementary School in St. Petersburg.
  4. In advertising, marketing diversity needs a boost in Tampa Bay, nationally


    TAMPA — Trimeka Benjamin was focused on a career in broadcast journalism when she entered Bethune-Cookman University.

    From left, Swim Digital marketing owner Trimeka Benjamin discusses the broad lack of diversity in advertising and marketing with 22 Squared copywriter Luke Sokolewicz, University of Tampa advertising/PR professor Jennifer Whelihan, Rumbo creative director George Zwierko and Nancy Vaughn of the White Book Agency. The group recently met at The Bunker in Ybor City.