Deborah Pettus

Broken Arrow Senior High School
Broken Arrow, OK

Project Description:

“COAST”, Pettus’ innovative teaching idea, stands for Collaborative Outreach using Aquaria with Students and Technology. This problem-based research learning project is designed to motivate zoology, agriculture, and visual arts students and engage them in action-oriented investigations. The project investigates zoology through freshwater and marine aquariums. Because Oklahoma is in the heartland of the United States, there are challenges in teaching students about marine animals and marine conservation because most students have never been to the ocean. Students will design research inquiries by selecting animals that can cohabitate in an aquarium, monitor water quality, collect data, and communicate their findings using technology and web-based programs. Students will embark on their experimental journeys by propagating animals such as echinoderms, mollusks, fishes, and cnidarians. With the use of new technologies, students will maintain a website depicting the project progression through blogging, photos and videos. Pettus, who lives in Broken Arrow, hopes students will be inspired to become stewards of the Earth and understand human impact on the planet.