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Portledge in the Now.

IB Student's Quest at Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center

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Students from IB Biology, IB Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS), and IB Physics came together on a collaborative project. The objective was to tackle a real-world problem with both local and international implications. Their journey commenced with an experiential field trip to the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center, nestled within the stunning Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York.

The group initiative served as an embodiment of the educational philosophy that our International Baccalaureate Programme fervently believes in. The vision was to create an environment where students could break free from the silos of their individual subjects and come together to explore complex scientific issues. The Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center, an iconic location, provided an ideal backdrop for such a visionary endeavor.

The crux of this interdisciplinary mission was to empower the students to work as a team, bridging the gaps between their respective disciplines, to address a problem of utmost significance. They weren't merely tasked with theoretical exercises but were plunged headfirst into a challenge that had real-world implications. In this collaborative atmosphere, students were exposed to a problem whose local manifestations reverberated globally, emphasizing the crucial connection between nature and energy.

The field trip itself was an immersive experience. As they arrived at the Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center, students were greeted by the harmonious blend of the natural world and human innovation. The Center's pristine setting, nestled within the sprawling Jones Beach State Park, provided a canvas for exploration. The students were led through West End 2, where the vibrant interplay of land and sea was a reminder of the delicate balance that must be maintained for our planet's well-being.

The heart of the project lay in the students' ability to synergize their diverse knowledge and perspectives. The IB Biology students brought their understanding of ecosystems and biodiversity, the IB ESS students contributed their insights into environmental systems, sustainability, and societal impacts, while the IB Physics students supplied their grasp of energy sources and their effects on the environment.

Working together as one interdisciplinary unit, students dedicated themselves to devising a solution to the local and international issue they had been tasked with. They delved into their research, gathered data from the environment, and carried out experiments to test their hypotheses. All the while, they were under the constant guidance and support of their dedicated instructors.

The pinnacle of the project was the students' collective creation of a product that documented their experience and learning. This product was a testament to their growth, creativity, and ability to communicate their findings to a broader audience. The medium of presentation was open to their interpretation, allowing for diversity in expression. Some students chose to encapsulate their journey in a learning journal, while others opted for a podcast, a video documentary, or an interactive web page. This element not only gave students the freedom to choose a mode of expression that resonated with them but also showcased their creative capacities. Then, students presented their projects in Bahnik Hall alongside their peers and teachers. 

The collaborative sciences project led by IB Science teacher Carolyn Chiu ‘85,  emphasized the profound impact that students can have when they unite their skills, insights, and passions to address real-world problems. The Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center, with its energy and environmental significance, acted as a fitting arena for these young minds to engage with a global issue in a localized context.

Through their collaboration and hard work, they not only came up with solutions but also created a lasting testament to their transformative educational experience as students became experts in their fields but also compassionate, adaptable, and responsible global citizens.
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