Local students create underwater mural after visit to John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

June 12, 2012
Ocean Mural small

A beautiful fish mural hangs outside Tara Alm-Bot’s first-grade classroom at Diamond View Elementary School.

First-graders from Greenacres’ Diamond View Elementary School took a field trip to John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach and participated in Fish Fun, part of the park’s Natural Science Education Program.

Tara Alm-Bot’s class spent the day exploring the estuary, visiting the newly remodeled nature center and participating in hands-on activities in the classroom. During the estuary hike, students learned about living and nonliving things found in nature, how they affect each other, and that with careful observation, the natural world can be better understood by using all five senses as scientific tools.

In the nature center, children observed marine life up close in the many aquariums found throughout the exhibit room. Director of Education Janice Kerber taught the children about fish anatomy, structure and how the individual parts function, as well as what fish need in their environment to survive.  As part of the experience, students enjoyed fun and educational activities on the classroom porch. A blow-up "kiddie" pool (called “The Puffer Pond”) holds laminated fish with paper clips,and students use magnetic fishing poles to catch, measure and identify different fish found in the estuary. Inside the classroom, students created a fish mural by painting and attaching fish to a large sheet of blue paper as a backdrop. After lunch, the students rolled up the mural and took it with them to finish up at school, incorporating places to hide and food to eat in an effort to create a realistic habitat for their fish.

Teachers were sent back with materials for post-lesson activities in the classroom.

“My students raved about their visit to MacArthur State Park,” Alm-Bot said. “At the time of the visit, they were learning about living things and were able to relate to everything the volunteers were explaining to them. The students were actually able to see, firsthand, everything they had been learning about and more. Seeing the life-size turtles and being able to be face to face with fish and turtles was a wonderful experience for them. The students were amazed the entire trip, they could not believe their eyes.”

Educators interested in planning a field trip to John D. MacArthur Beach State Park can call Kerber at (561) 776-7221, Ext. 104 or email [email protected].




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