A Class From the Past: Marine Science


Art/Photo by Samantha Takeda

If you’ve ever wanted to learn about what lurks at at the bottom of the ocean, reach out to Mrs. Rivera about the new and improved Marine Science class.

The ocean is a place of endless possibilities; no one truly knows what lies in its pitch-black darkness. However, if you’d like to learn more about this fascinating underwater world — from seabed-dwelling organisms to how the ocean was formed millions of years ago — you should consider taking the new and restructured Marine Science course next year.

   Marine Science has been taught at West before and was previously known as Oceanography. But due to low enrollment and the class’s teacher retiring, it was taken off the course selection list, leading West to be the only high school in the district not offering the class.

   But with the rising number of AP and honors science courses outnumbering regular science courses, teachers thought bringing back Marine Science could help regain a balance. According to Mrs. Rivera, the AP Environmental Science teacher and soon-to-be Marine Science teacher, the district had to “rewrite the curriculum” and “figure out what we were going to teach” because the other schools were teaching different aspects of Marine Science. Previously, West focused more on the physical and biological features of the ocean, rather than marine life and the history of ocean formation.

   Mrs. Rivera explained that she is “definitely looking forward to [teaching the course]” and is “excited to teach students that are interested in the subject as well.” Since she has a background in environmental science, she plans to incorporate discussions around environmental issues and their effects on the ocean, “which will be a nice crossover between some environmental concepts and the ocean and how they are linked.” Mrs. Rivera also added, “The class will be more physical. There will be lectures, but activities that will go along with it . . . maybe even do a volunteer beach clean-up since we live so close to the beach.”

   Previously, Mrs. Rivera aspired to be a marine biologist, which adds to her love of the ocean. Being able to teach a class whose subject matter is fascinating to her just adds to the excitement. All students interested should keep an eye out for more information regarding the class!