S. Fl. Ecosystem
South Florida’s fragile ecology is an especially relevant topic for the SMS teams to discuss with their classes. The University of Miami has more than 125 scientists researching some aspect of ecology, and these researchers are supervising double that amount of graduate students. Ecological studies are naturally interdisciplinary. Biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and mathematics combine to provide an understanding of the relationships among a sweep of organisms, communities, populations, ecosystems, and biosphere. Further, ecological studies inevitably raise bioethical issues. These provide a wealth of possible topics for classroom debate about such matters as our collective responsibility to other species and natural ecosystems, the balance between environmental and economic concerns, the matter of family size, and the balance of global thinking and local concern. Middle school students confronting these issues will develop a capacity for critical thinking.
The SMS program is fortunate because of its proximity to outstanding eco-educational environments:
Everglades National Park
Biscayne National Park
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Miami Science Museum