Challenging students to apply cross-disciplinary learning to real world problems

Why bring ocean science to Northeast Tennessee? It’s simple. The ocean matters everywhere. It drives our weather and climate and is an integral part of the food web. The ocean plays a key role in transportation, telecommunication, and national security. It is the source of 97% of the world’s water and 50% of the oxygen we breathe. And yet, the ocean is still not sufficiently understood. “Change begins with education and what better way to engage in a global need than to inspire the best and brightest young minds around the endless possibilities of applying educational skills to impact the issues of our changing world,” said Natalie Pickett, instructor of the capstone course at Dobyns-Bennett. “The opportunities and benefits associated with offering this capstone course is certainly a differentiator for our students and presents them with exceptional experiences that are unique.”

“The integration of ocean science into curriculum is a great example of how effective public/private partnerships can motivate and empower a new generation of thinkers, makers and scientists to be the catalysts for change that our global community needs,” said David A. Golden, Eastman’s senior vice president and chief legal & sustainability officer and president of Eastman Foundation.

In addition to the course, students from Dobyns-Bennett also compete in the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), an academic competition supported by The Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Using advanced math, chemistry, physics, biology, robotics, and computer coding as an underpinning, the course and the competition develop real world problem-solving and critical thinking skills and provide students with a strong foundation for their future careers.

Exposure to a capstone course in ocean processes and The National Ocean Bowl is a unique experience for students and Dobyns-Bennett is one of only a few select high school in the United States offering this combination of programming.

Read Discover the Depths, a career resource for students, developed by the National Ocean Sciences Bowl.

Learn more about the impact and stature of STEM Education by reading "Business and Industry Support for Innovation in STEM Education: A Case Study in Ocean Science Education" by Dr. Howard D. Walters of Ashland University and Dr. Tina Bishop of The College of Exploration. Download the research paper here: Tennessee Case Study