The Ability to Produce Light: Students Learn About Bioluminescence

This week Mount Madonna School (MMS) tenth grade students are studying the chemistry and biology of bioluminescence, and learning how scientists explore the dark and deep ocean to discover more about where the ability to produce light fits into ocean ecosystems and animals’ lives.  These pictures show students working on an experiment examining a reaction that produces light.
This part of the MMS oceanography curriculum prepares students for a night snorkel that they do during an Catalina Island learning journey. Part of the experience is shielding all light, allowing their eyes to adjust, then playing with the fireworks that happen when you swirl your hands and feet through thousands of tiny light-producing organisms. Some years the light is so bright that students spend hours at the dockside, swirling the water with an oar or a pool noodle and marveling at the light show.
“We are hoping that California Department of Public Health restrictions on school field trips lift by fall, so that we can bring the entire high school to Catalina Island in September,” commented teacher Lisa Catterall. “While this is usually a freshman and sophomore adventure, for 2021-22, this re-envisioned learning journey would include all ninth to twelfth grade students.”
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Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.


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