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Science Teacher Shares Passion for SCUBA Diving

Orleans/Niagara BOCES Science teacher, Peter Jablonski, tries to keep his lessons interesting to capture the attention of the students at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center.

He decided to use his love of SCUBA diving when he was teaching the Welding program and the Security and Law Enforcement classes this year. “Welders can make a lot of money if they know how to weld underwater, so that was added incentive for them to pay attention,” says Mr. Jablonski. “I told the students that SCUBA diving in extreme depths, fast water, and poor visibility is dangerous work therefore workers are highly compensated.    Jablonski learned SCUBA when he had to take a mandatory two credit hours of physical education when he was an undergrad at Canisius College. He ended up enjoying it because it was physically demanding and helped him to overcome his fear of the water. “There is a lot of science involved for SCUBA,” explains Jablonski. “You need to know how to use Navy dive charts to see how long a person could stay underwater at different depths, Boyle’s Gas Laws, physiological diseases such as embolisms, bends and nitrogen narcosis or rapture of the deep.  Also the physics of how light and sound travels underwater had to be thoroughly comprehended. Sound travels much faster underwater and objects appear closer underwater due to refraction. ”

He also shared this lesson with the Security and Law Enforcement students, who may have to conduct a water rescue in their careers. “During my lesson the students have a good laugh watching one of their classmates, Matthew Schultz, don a wet suit and try to walk around with an air tank on their back and a weight belt around their waist.”

Knowing that many of the Security and Law Enforcement students will never even try SCUBA, he tries to include practical law enforcement skills like rescuing a drowning victim. He shared the slogan “REACH-THROW-ROW-GO” that was instilled in him as a Boy Scout and what he teaches as a guide to Boy Scouts on high adventure canoe trips in Algonquin Provincial Park in northern Ontario. “I discussed with the students the incredible strength of moving water, how to perform ice rescues and how extreme cold water can cause death by Sudden Cold Water Immersion.”

Mr. Jablonski said he was pleased on how his lessons went.  “I think discussing the science in this manner will stick with them longer and help them apply that knowledge in their lives. You never know it could help one of them to save someone else’s life so that is a great lesson to learn.”

Student in SCUBA gear with teacher

Student putting on SCUBA Gear