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San Diego Bay: A Story of Exploitation and Restoration

School: Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High School

City/State: San Diego, CA

Grade(s): 9, 10, 11, 12

Format(s): Book: Nonfiction/Informational

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Social Studies

Project Overview

This professional-quality field guide was created by high school students at Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High in San Diego, California. It is the third in a series of commercially bound and distributed field guides created in a collaboration between Jay Vavra, biology teacher and an interdisciplinary teaching team – in this case, a mathematics and biology teacher. The students were active in Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program, and Jane Goodall has written an introduction for most of the guides in the series, including this book.

Following a field guide to the natural species of the bay – “Perspectives of San Diego Bay” – this field guide adds a new dimension by documenting the historical interaction between humans and industry with the ecology of the bay. Students researched the growth and changes in industries based in the bay, particularly hunting and fishing industries, from Native American times to the present. They were involved in historical research in archives and also in interviews with historical and industry experts. Influenced by the Jared Diamond’s book “Guns, Germs, and Steel”, this field guide examines themes of industry, invention and change on human culture and the bay ecosystem.

Students worked with college professors, museum experts, naturalists, historians and industry leaders to get multiple perspectives in their research; they worked closely with primary sources throughout the study and include historical photos and documents in their book.

This guide, and the others in the series, stand as some of the finest examples of the potential of high school students to do professional quality work for an authentic audience.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • The quality of the field guide is unparalleled as a model of sophistication, depth and beauty for student work
  • The idea of an historical field guide – rather than just a natural species field guide – is a powerful one that can be used in many settings and locations
  • The collaboration of high school level science, math and humanities is evident throughout the book; this project is a fine model for teacher collaboration in a secondary setting
  • The book is a model of a product with a genuine audience – one can see it would easily sell in a book store due to its impressive production qualities and intriguing focus

Relevant Resources

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop in a text with a complex sequence of events or set of ideas.
  • I can analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of key terms over the course of a text.
  • I can write informative/explanatory texts that convey complex ideas and concepts clearly and accurately, using content that is carefully selected, organized, and analyzed.
  • I can produce clear and coherent writing appropriate to task, purpose and audience.
  • I can use the writing process to focus on what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.
  • I can synthesize multiple sources on a subject.
  • I can follow a standard format for citation.
  • I can use evidence from literary informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
  • I can use correct grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
  • I can use correct capitalization, punctuation and spelling.
  • I can analyze grammar and sentence structure in complex text to aid my comprehension.
  • I can use resources to build my vocabulary.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
  • EL has not created long-term learning targets for WHST standards.
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