Phytoplankton Power!

God has revealed his existence, glory, and divine attributes through creation, and the study of science provides a deeper understanding of that revelation. Throughout our science curriculum, we point students to our creator and His design for the universe.

As we prepare our 8th grade students for high school science, emphasis is placed on:

  • inquiry skills,
  • interpreting data,
  • understanding relationships in the living world, and
  • making connections between science and the Christian faith.

Toward those ends, our 8th graders recently visited the Center for Marine Science (CMS) to study phytoplankton. Phytoplankton, a diverse, microscopic community of photosynthetic marine life, are responsible for providing 50% of the oxygen in our atmosphere and are building blocks of the food web.  Recent research shows that phytoplankton, a plentiful, renewable resource, can be used to create bio diesel fuel.

During their time at CMS, students studied the pros and cons of bio diesel fuel and then performed a lab in which vegetable oil was converted into bio diesel fuel.  While the experiment was processing, students walked down to the docks and collected phytoplankton and zooplankton using a plankton tow net which captures the microscopic plankton while allowing water to pass through.  Students then returned to examine and identify these collected samples of phytoplankton and zooplankton under a microscope.  Students returned to their biodiesel experiment and took the extracted fuel outside to ignite it.

Our study of science is designed to show that an orderly and intelligent God created an ordered and intelligible universe. Field experiences like this one are intentionally designed to provide students with an opportunity to practice research and lab skills while strengthening their understanding of God and His complex and beautiful creation.