The Zoomies of October: Game Day and Shark Science

Climbers had a great variety of Zoom spaces to visit with each other this month through Saturday Zoom times: from devotions to a game day, and on to a virtual field trip to a Florida marine laboratory. 

Game day began with a Zoom poll to choose the game to play. Final answer? “Halloween Jeopardy”, and so Climbers were placed into their teams. 

Everyone jumped right into the game, with much engagement and interaction, and most importantly lots of fun. 

The new Climbers stepped up to the plate by leading teams and volunteering for leadership roles.

It is reported that some “street cred” was earned by a few individuals who had the correct answers when everyone else was at a loss. 

Afterward, even one of the staff members was heard to say, “I learned some stuff!”

The stumper answer for Halloween Jeopardy was: “What is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?’. So, it seems that Jacob’s Ladder has an arts enrichment opportunity in cinematography because many of the Climbers have never seen It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Whale shark. Photo: Beth Davidow

The last Climber gathering of October was a virtual field trip all about Shark Science! 

Through Zoom, we traveled to the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida.  It was reassuring to have along on our first virtual field trip twenty-seven Climbers, Alumni, staff, RA’s, former RA’s, and teachers. 

Ross Johnston, a Virtual Learning Education Specialist for Mote, was our teacher — or as he likes to say, he’s the “liaison” who helps explain the deeper science stuff to the rest of us interested folks who want to learn. 

And learn we did, about sharks we did! 

Using a variety of media tools and actual shark jaws, models, and teeth throughout the field trip, Ross began by talking about the smallest shark, the Lantern shark, and made his way up to the largest living shark, the Whale shark. 

Ross reached right through this virtual world and took us from the cold depths of the oceans to the warm sunny surfaces and even up the Amazon River through a Shark, Truth or Myth game, which he called “Trick or Treat” in honor of the season. Part of the lesson focused on the fact that shark populations are in decline and we discussed the possible causes and how we can help. He continued to engage us by taking the time to answer the many questions from the participants. 

He encouraged us to use Flip Grid, an interactive ocean science media platform, to submit questions by video. Here students can ask anything about the ocean. Using Flip Grid, the Mote Marine educators and researchers are available to answer the deep questions.

Ross closed his time with this action for us: Share shark facts! The more we share about sharks with others the more we show we care about sharks. 

Therefore, in the spirit of sharing, here is a shark fact to share: While there are 500 species of shark in the world’s ocean only about 3 species are known to regularly cause problems for us humans.  80% never even interact with humans, 19.4% can sometimes interact and be harmful to humans (if we happen to share the same space), and that leaves the remaining 0.6% of sharks (Bull sharks, Tiger Sharks, and Great White sharks) which can cause problems for humans when they get the chance!. Even then, it’s because we like to swim in the same type of environment — warm, shallow water.

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