Snorkeling & Discovery “Keys” to Seventh-Grade Trip


Mrs. Stacy Schnurr

During one of the Marine Lab classes, seventh grader Mar Kallop holds a tulip snail that was found in the water.

 Snorkeling is usually a hobby, but for the annual seventh-grade trip to the Keys, faculty use snorkeling to teach students about marine life in a fun way.  Dr. Nicollee Inguagiato, the Middle School’s new seventh-grade science teacher, took the class to Marine Lab, a marine science field studies camp in Key Largo, from May 4-6. 

“I want the kids to experience what I did when I lived in Hawaii,” said Inguagiato, better known to the students as Dr. I. “I want the students to experience what we have learned in the classroom from the whole year,” she said.

After a great day of snorkeling, the seventh-grade students swim back to the boat. (Mr. Griffin Palmgren)

While on the trip, students studied both on land and on water. The students had many classes with the Marine lab facilitators where they learned about mangroves, seagrass, and ocean life. Once the students had class, they would then go explore the area they learned about either by boat or snorkeling. 

“We had multiple trips on boats to areas in the ocean we have studied to see if they know and or discover other [marine life] species we have not studied,” said Dr. Inguagiato.   

The trip fits in well with the seventh graders’ current science curriculum.   “We are currently studying fish and other marine [animals] in the [Florida Keys],” said seventh grader Cayden Pribramsky. “This will be very good because we will be snorkeling and swimming around so we can see these fish and other animals in action,” he said. 

The students were not the only ones who were looking forward to the trip. 

“I want the students to experience what I do every year,” said PE instructor Mr. Greg Keller. “I would like to see manatees, I like to call them sea cows,” he said.

The trip had its ups and downs, but the time spent together outside of class was invaluable.

“My favorite experience from the trip was getting to spend time outside of class with the students,” said Dr. Inguagiato. “The most difficult part was all the changes the Marine Lab made and trying to adjust to that,” she said, referring to the last minute changes to the schedule and activities due to five of Marine Lab’s boats being inoperable. 

From the dock, this is a beautiful look at the Marine Lab property in Key Largo. (Mrs. Stacy Schnurr)

Even with these changes, the students still enjoyed the trip. 

“I learned what we learned in class, but more because I saw what we learned in class, not [just] as pictures or drawing,” said seventh grader Phoebe Apple. 

“[One of the] two most exciting parts of the trip was the snorkeling,” said Inguagiato. “I was able to teach kids how to dive, and the second was the manatee that came up to my group of 15 to 20 students that got to see and experience the manatee up close,” she said.

Having fun while learning is one of the goals at TBS. This trip helps to make that a reality. Now with Miss Inguagiato having a trip under her belt with The Benjamin School, there are high hopes that next year will be even better.