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Displaying items by tag: Explorers Education Programme

Can you tell the difference between a gastropod and a bivalve? Do you know how to identify a decapod, amphipod or an isopod? And can you tell what fish can walk across seaweed, are slippery as butter or can hide in the sand?

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme reveals all with the launch of its Wild about Wildlife on the Seashore teachers’ toolkit.

It’s packed with over 50 online educational resources including films, species information sheets and-cross curricular worksheets, that aim to help teachers and children get engaged with marine science and learn about our wildlife on the seashore.

Patricia Orme, joint acting chief executive of the Marine Institute, congratulated the Camden Education Trust and the Explorers team on the development and launch of the Explorers teaching resources.

“The Explorers Education Programme is leading the way in supporting teachers to teach children about the ocean in the classroom, and having fit-for-purpose materials that can support the curriculum is a great way to start their journey of learning about the ocean,” Orme said.

“These resources are an important addition to many of the great assets that the Explorers programme provides. Working with educators and outreach teams around the country helps us further encourage learning about our marine biodiversity, environmental care, as well as marine science and technology.

“Building these relationships with teachers and providing them with the resources they need, is key to ensuring Ireland is well equipped to have future generations of well informed and enthusiastic marine scientists; as well as a society that cares and values our marine environment.”

The new teaching materials include interactive films of seashore safaris covering shellfish, crustaceans and fish found on the rocky shore; species information sheets filled with photos of Irish seashore animals; as well as presentations, cross-curricular worksheets and visual art resources with plenty of illustrations of animals that can be used in class.

‘We are really excited about sharing these resources with teachers and children over the coming months’

“We are so excited to be launching these materials for teachers and children, where they can go to one website and find all that they need. The teaching resources have been created with the support from outreach educators and teachers and we are delighted to provide all of the content online, which is free to download at www.explorers.ie,” explained Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Education strategic manager with the Camden Education Trust.

Dromgool-Regan, who directed and produced the interactive films with Matt Kelly Productions, added: “The Explorers Wild about Wildlife films have been developed to bring the seashore into the classroom, and we have been very lucky to have some of the Explorers team from Galway Atlantaquaria take part in sharing their expertise about the animals on the shore in the films.”

Noirín Burke, Padraic Creedon and Anna Quinn show the animals that are likely to be found on the seashore, and explain the amazing facts about how the animals have adapted to deal with the extremes of the seashore. This includes animals of all shapes and sizes coping with crashing waves, changing tides, hot and cold weather; as well as a long list of predators that are on the shore.

“Creating these films was certainly a highlight for us and we are really excited about sharing these resources with teachers and children over the coming months,“ said Dr Noirin Burke, Explorers support services manager from Galway Atlantaquaria.

“We also get to tell stories about some of our favourite animals, from the barnacle that lives in one spot on its head and feeds with its ‘feet’ to the dogwhelk that can ‘drill holes’ into other shells to eat its prey — just like soup.

“We hope by bringing these stories about the seashore to the classroom, it helps children feel like they getting a seashore experience with us during the exploration.”

The Explorers team have developed over 30 species information sheets covering fish, crustaceans, shellfish, sponges and sea squirts to name a few, which are loaded with photos, and provide a wealth of scientific information that children can use to learn about living things and one of the harshest places for the animals to survive.

There are also creative art sheets and worksheets that can be used with the films in the classroom to help teachers and children with their scientific discovery and learn more about the animals found on the Irish seashore.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme is pleased to be included in the publication of the European Blue Schools handbook for teachers.

This handbook was recently released as part of the launch of the European Blue Schools project’s Find the Blue challenge, led by the EU4Ocean Coalition and supported by the European Commission – DG Mare.

“The Explorers Education Programme is among a number of leading outreach programmes in Europe that is recognised for greatly contributing to the promotion of environmental education and ocean literacy,” Evy Copejans, coordinator of the European Blue Schools programme, said.

“The Explorers project Our Ocean - Marine Legends, Fairy Tales and Folklore in Ireland, that was selected for the European Blue Schools handbook for teachers, features children's poems and artwork that were inspired by Irish marine legends and folklore around the coast of Ireland.

“It is a wonderful project that demonstrates the human connection with the ocean, and is an excellent example of how teachers can Find the Blue and use this project for inspiration.”

Speaking about the children’s work on the Our Ocean project, Explorers’ Cushla Dromgool-Regan said: “Engaging in stories from the Salmon of Knowledge to the adventures of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, as well as new tales from different counties, the children were able to gain an appreciation of the influence the ocean has had on their local areas through history and storytelling.

"With a wide range of STEM and STEAM projects resources on the Explorers.ie website, we would be delighted to see teachers use the Explorers projects for inspiration and also use this as an opportunity to take part in the European Blue Schools programme.”

The European Blue Schools project covers five strands that schools can select to take part in. Students are encouraged to also learn outside the classroom about real-life topics related to the ocean, to experience the world actively and develop a wide range of social skills, solution-oriented and creative thinking, that support the classic school skills.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme team are getting ready for the season of love by launching a series of fascinating facts about the ocean.

“Making personal connections and hearing stories about what we love to do at home and why we also love the ocean is a great way to help us all increase awareness of the ocean and inspire new conversations about why the ocean is important to us,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Education manager.

“With these fun facts, we hope to inspire parents, teachers and children to think more about how the ocean impacts their lives and how they impact the ocean – sometimes indirectly through their day-to-day activities at home and at school.

“Throughout February, we would love to hear about these ocean love connections posted on our social media sites or shared with us by email #LovetheOcean.”

Adding a personal touch to the 28 ‘We Love the Ocean’ facts, Dromgool-Regan adds, the team around Ireland are sharing what they love to do and connecting these activities with some of the amazing facts about the ocean.

The facts and connections also provide useful ideas for teachers and parents to link the ocean to subjects that are covered on the primary school curriculum.

If you would like to see more of the Explorers’ Love the Ocean facts for ideas to develop activities at home or in class, follow the Explorers Education Programe on Facebook and Twitter.

Published in Marine Science

A publication by the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme that connects children, parents, teachers and the media with the seashore in Ireland has been highlighted at a major international conference.

My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook was recently presented at the 4th International Marine Science Communication Conference, CommOCEAN, which brings marine science experts and communication professionals together to learn more about advocating the spread and outreach and communication about the ocean.

Speaking at the conference, the book’s author Cushla Dromgool-Regan said: “To really engage and be passionate about caring for our marine environment, it is said that we need to be able to see it, hear it, feel it, smell it and taste it.

“Therefore, with over half of Ireland's population living 5km from the coast in Ireland, the seashore is the perfect playground to learn about our ocean.

“The Explorers workbook can be used to help inspire learning about the shore before, during and after heading to the beach. It can be used by children of all ages to learn about the amazing animals, seaweeds and habitats that can be found our doorstep.”

My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook was launched earlier this year to mark International Biodiversity Day, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, and more than 800 copies of the book were downloaded within its first couple of months.

“I am delighted that the book sparked a keen interest with teachers and parents teaching at home this year, as well as the media’s interest in sharing our stories and passion for the sea,” added Dromgood-Regan, who is also Explorers strategic manager and communication lead from the Camden Education Trust.

“The importance of learning, communicating and engaging in decisions about our ocean, starts at home around our kitchen table.”

As announced at CommOCEAN, the My Explorers Seashore Guide Workbook is now published in English and Irish as a free download from the Marine Institute’s open access library.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute and its Explorers Education Programme will once again be a part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, which this year is a virtual experience for families on the weekend of 21-22 November.

Step aboard the Marine Institute’s marine science research vessel Celtic Explorer via a 90-minute livestream on Sunday 22 November from 11am to learn about some of its unique features, and why it is so important for fisheries research, climate studies and seabed mapping.

After the virtual show, jump aboard the RV Celtic Explorer and take a 3D virtual tour, or enjoy downloadable resources, videos and interactive activities that explore Ireland’s marine resource from the Oceans of Learning series.

And the weekend starts off with a trip to the seashore with the Explorers Education Programme team, who get ‘Wild about Wildlife’ as part of a special video series that’s been screened for schools this week as part of Science Week. Tune into the Galway Science & Technology Festival’s YouTube channel at 11am on Saturday 21 November (and again at 3pm on Sunday 22).

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Paul Connolly said: “The Marine Institute has supported the annual Galway Science and Technology Festival for many years, and is delighted to engage with parents and children through an online platform this year.

“The annual outreach event nurtures students’ interest and curiosity in science and technology subjects, and is also an opportunity for the Marine Institute, and our Explorers Education Programme, to raise awareness about the importance of our ocean and the work of our scientists.”

Meanwhile, the institute is also encouraging children to get creative and colour in a picture of the RV Celtic Explorer.

The winning entry will receive a LEGO City Ocean Exploration Submarine Deep Sea Set, and there are also two LEGO City Ocean Exploration Mini-Submarine Sets on offer.

To enter, download a copy of the colouring competition from the Marine Institute’s website, post a photo of your finished creation to social media and tag the institute on Twitter or Facebook. Winners will be announced on Friday 27 November.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme is interacting with children around Ireland among events for Science Week, which continues to this weekend.

Exploring the seashore will be the focus of the Explorers team as they share their Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore film and host Q&As with primary school pupils tomorrow, Wednesday 11 November.

Join them as they go on a journey to one of the most extreme places on earth where animals live. Find out about the seashells and their friends, including some of the tiniest periwinkles to top shells with the coolest spirals, feasting on seaweed.

Then head to the lower shore to help the team hunt down the carnivorous dog whelk — the shellfish which loves to make limpets into soup!

See the websites for the Cork Science Festival, Kerry Science Festival, Midlands Science, Galway Science & Technology Festival and the South-East Science Festival for more, and browse the full list of events on the SFI website.

Published in Marine Science

Fifth and sixth class pupils at St Patrick’s National School in Craanford, Co Wexford had the opportunity to share their knowledge of sharks with RTÉ’s children’s news programme news2day this afternoon (Wednesday 4 November).

The youngsters recently took part in a project on the fearsome fish with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme, learning more about the sharks found in Irish waters and around the world.

Explorers outreach officer Padraic Creedon worked with teacher Jackie Cousins and her class as they were inspired by stories such as the discovery of a rare shark nursery 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland.

“Working with the Wexford class from my Galway base has been one of my highlights this year,” Creedon said.

“Seeing their work, from the shark frame on their classroom door to the detailed sculptures and art work of various Irish sharks created by the students, was fantastic.

“The children’s work showing the basking shark, which is found in Irish waters and the second largest shark in the world, was a particular favourite of mine.

Shark diorama by pupils at St Patrick’s NS (Photo: Padraic Creedon)Shark diorama by pupils at St Patrick’s NS | Photo: Padraic Creedon

“This all highlighted the importance of engaging in ocean exploration and creating ocean champions at primary school level,” added Creedon, who also works at Galway Atlantaquaria.

“Connecting with the children on line and in the class with Padraic generated huge excitement for us all,” said their teacher Jackie Cousins. “The children's enthusiasm to learn about sharks helped us incorporate a range of subjects in the class from science and English to the arts.

“The Explorers approach with the class also gave the children a voice, where they were able to lead the discussion about sharks and what they wanted to learn.

“This sense of collective engagement as well as doing their own research opened up an amazing sense of discovery, where they have excelled and produced some incredible work, from writing facts and stories about sharks to producing a series of posters and artwork.”

Mícheál Ó Scannáil, the news2day presenter who interviewed the class in his home county, was also struck by the children’s enthusiasm for sharks and their ocean habitat.

“We had great fun in Craanford and the kids and Padraic taught me a lot about sharks. I still don't know if I’d hop in the sea with them, though!”

The segment featuring the pupils of St Patricks’s NS begins at 2m40s into today’s edition of news2day on the RTÉ website HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

Creating ‘ocean champions’ around Ireland is the latest mission for outreach team members from the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.

The team are delivering a range of marine projects and seashore safaris in primary schools through blended learning, online activities and outdoor class visits.

This has involved adapting their favourite marine projects and developing new content for teachers and primary school children to use in the classroom.

Each month the programme will launch a new project and a series of new resources teachers and pupils can use. This month’s project is ‘An Ocean of Stories — My Explorers Personal Story’, created by Co Clare-based Explorers outreach officer Carmel Madigan.

The artist, author and habitat researcher says her creative writing project “focuses on wellbeing, creativity and reflecting on our connection with the ocean”.

She adds: “This is a great time to reflect and use our imagination and share our stories. These might include the day the sand got into my sandwiches to the drama of picking up a large seashore crab.

“We will be celebrating the children's work by sharing the stories on the Explorers social media pages. We will also be publishing a selection of our favourite submissions in an Anthology of Short Ocean Stories next year on World Oceans Day.”

Schools and students lacking in broadband access won’t be left out, either, as Carmel has produced a series of videos to inspire the children with their work with will be sent to teachers to share with their classes.

“We have really worked outside the box this term and the Explorer teams have done an amazing job coming up with projects that classes and schools can still take part in,” said the programme’s strategic education manager, Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust.

“This includes online engagement, personalised film messages and traditional letter-writing, to name a few. A huge volume of support materials have also been created for the teachers to use in class with the children including interactive short films, workbooks, fun facts and posters.”

Explorers weekly updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter. If you are interested in your class taking part in an Explorers project, contact your nearest Explorers outreach officer or the support services team at Galway Atlantaquaria for more via www.explorers.ie

Published in Coastal Notes

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme team has joined marine scientists, teachers and educators across Europe and North America to hit the beach to celebrate World Cleanup Day, which took place this year last Saturday 19 September.

During the month of September, members of the EMSEA-Atlanic network from Ireland, Azores, Portugal, USA and Canada have been taking part in local beach cleanups “with a focus on highlighting some of the prominent litter items frequently found on our seashores around the Atlantic”, according to EMSEA board member Evy Copejans.

As well as bringing communities together to learn more about marine wildlife and the marine environment, beach cleanups are also opportunity to find the most extraordinary things washed up on the shore.

In the past, EMSEA members have found messages in bottles, rubber ducks, bowling balls, and mini-boats that have drifted on currents across the Atlantic.

And they are sharing any oddities and treasures discovered on beaches on social media with the hashtags #seawhatifound and #EMSEAAtlantic.

“On the west coast of Ireland, in Galway we often find buoys, fishing gear and sometimes items from halfway across the world,” said Padraic Creedon, outreach officer at Galway Atlantaquaria.

Explorers’ Cushla Dromgool-Regan added: “We are connected by the ocean in so many ways and recognise the importance of working together to ensure the ocean is sustained for our families, friends and future generations.

Coastal clean-ups help us raise awareness about the connections we have and the influence the ocean has on us, as well as the impact we have on the ocean.”

Published in Marine Wildlife

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme outreach team are currently sharing their favourite marine facts and lesson plans about the ocean for teachers, parents and primary school children to use while learning from home.

The ‘Meet the Explorers Team’ online initiative is in recognition of International Earth Day, celebrated each year from the beginning of spring to Earth Day itself on 22 April, says Explorers Education manager Cushla Dromgool-Regan.

“Many of our Explorers outreach teams are going digital this month sharing their stories, favourite facts and providing free lesson plans to help raise awareness about the ocean and all the life it supports,” she added.

The Explorers team will be posting ocean facts on its Facebook and Twitter social media channels, and have set up a dedicated web page for teachers and parents to download free lesson plans, activities, project ideas and fun facts about the ocean over the coming weeks.

They are also keen to share children’s favourite facts, stories and projects about the ocean online. Keep an eye on social media for updates, competitions and sharing new stories about the ocean.

Published in Marine Science
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