Reflecting on a Year With Breakthrough Miami

In September 2020, Miami Waterkeeper officially launched a partnership with Breakthrough Miami. Breakthrough Miami uses a unique "students-teaching-students" model to create a rigorous, vibrant learning community where highly motivated, traditionally underrepresented 5th-12thgrade students are supported to achieve post-secondary success, and emerging leaders are inspired to become the next generation of educators and advocates. Leveraging the synergy between the Breakthrough Scholars and our Junior Ambassador program, Miami Waterkeeper filled a need for environmental science programming for Breakthrough. The curriculum and activities were highly well-received; it was one of the most highly rated focus areas by their high school scholars who used the lesson plans to teach incoming 5th-grade scholars. This initiative reached over 120 5thgrade students over the 2020-2021 school year.

Our partnership officially entered its second year of programming this summer with Breakthrough Miami and Miami Waterkeeper field experiences! New incoming 5th-grade scholars from across Miami-Dade participated in one of three trips to Virginia Key curated by Miami Waterkeeper to meet Breakthrough's environmental science focus area needs.

Students were able to enrich themselves with a series of activities throughout their day of exploration. Students started by conducting water quality tests collecting data on pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and turbidity. After practicing their hands-on scientist skills, Breakthrough Miami scholars assisted local Parks and Recreation staff with habitat restoration.

This habitat restoration activity taught these future environmental leaders about invasive species. Students were able to learn about invasive plants and how these different species impacted the local hammock ecosystem of Virginia Key. No one left without getting their hands dirty and helping the Parks and Recreation staff pull out these harmful plants!

Scholars finished off the field experience with a scavenger hunt around the park! This scavenger hunt required small groups of students to seek out different types of marine debris or answer questions about how different types of land-based pollution impact their waterways. Over 50 pounds of marine debris was collected across all three groups!

We are so thrilled to be partnering with Breakthrough Miami for a second year! We look forward to developing new lesson plans and activities to creatively expose their new 5th-grade scholars to some of the most pressing issues facing our waterways today.


Email [email protected] for more information related to lesson plans or other teacher resources.

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