- Quartz Hill Elementary
Oceanography Club helps bring class lessons to life
Did you know that GPS students get to explore the land and the sea? Our elementary school campuses offer Oceanography Clubs as an extracurricular activity for students. Through the club, they learn about the ocean zones and the animals that live there. Students also gain an understanding of why it is important to protect the natural environment and how it benefits the rest of the planet. One of the most exciting parts about the club for students is the big trip to California.
In January, the Quartz Hill Elementary Oceanography Club traveled to San Diego. The experience is quite monumental for the fifth and sixth grade students. For many, it’s their first overnight trip out of state without their parents. It’s an opportunity for them to bond and make memories with their peers outside of the classroom, and the trip allows the students to see their oceanography lessons come to life.
During the trip, the students visited Sea World, Scripps Aquarium, Seal Beach and participated in whale-watching. Their favorite experiences included getting soaked by an Orca whale and feeling a lobster for the first time. As a trip souvenir, students received hand painted sea shells.
The Quartz Hill Oceanography Club meets regularly throughout the first half of the school year, and during their meetings, students give presentations about marine life. They talk about the differences between sea and land turtles, whales and dolphins, sea lions and seals, shell classifications as well as ocean plants and how the moon impacts ocean tides. While at Seal Beach in California, club members were able to learn and discuss how that part of the coastline became a seal colony and the ways in which high tides impact sea life.
For their final club meeting, the students reflected on their San Diego trip. Sitting in small groups at their desks, they shared some of their favorite memories, which brought plenty of laughter and smiles. The students also signed cards to express their gratitude to those who made the trip happen. For their final moments together as a club, the students ate donuts and watched a video that showed clips and photos from their trip together.
The Oceanography Club trip is partly made possible through the use of tax credits. Families are also encouraged to let students earn some money to help support the trip’s cost. In the past years, students have sold homemade bread, cookies, suckers, and fudge to raise money. They’ve also done babysitting, or saved up their money from birthdays or holiday gifts.
Quartz Hill Elementary is an A-rated school by the Arizona Department of Education. The campus offers students and families access to the Accelerated program for kindergarten through sixth grade students. Accelerated classrooms focus on grade-level standards at an accelerated pace. Students learn necessary skills to continue to develop and advance at an accelerated pace to help with their transition to honors level courses in junior high and high school.