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Displaying items by tag: Explorers Education Programme

Teacher training courses this summer are now available to book as part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme.

The five-day continuing professional development (CPD) courses will take place from 4-8 July in Galway, Dublin, Waterford, Kerry and West Cork.

This year’s programme follows on from a successful virtual course held last year, and will provide teachers with an opportunity to connect with their local seashore and learn new ideas for outdoor education, as well as bringing the seashore into the classroom.

“Everyone is eager to meet face-to-face this year with the school teachers,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers strategic education and communications manager with the Camden Education Trust.

“The team are looking forward to providing practical seashore activities, covering the sciences, learning about the marine environment and living things, environmental awareness and care, as well as introducing maths, PE and wellbeing games.

“With a combination of outdoor field trips to the shore and an introduction to marine themes in the classroom, this course is a favourite of teachers and can book up very quickly.”

Teachers are provided with a pack of Explorers teaching resources to take back to their classrooms and will also learn about the work of the Marine Institute ranging from marine research to sustainable fisheries, the environment and climate change.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute and managed by the Camden Education Trust with support services provided by Galway Atlantaquaria. The Explorers teams involved in this summer’s CPD training include Marine Dimensions (Dublin), Leave no Trace – Ireland (Waterford), Lifetime Lab (Cork), Sea Synergy (Kerry), and Galway Atlantaquaria (Galway).

Published in Coastal Notes

More than 20 primary schools in 14 coastal counties around Ireland have been selected to complete Healthy Ocean projects to be in with a chance of winning a Marine Institute Explorers Ocean Champion Award.

This award is part of the Explorers Education Programme, which provides teachers and children with the tools necessary to develop a project within their school and community.

Healthy Ocean projects focus on supporting the primary school curriculum and creating positive actions to raise awareness and engagement about the ocean in the schools and their local communities.

“We are delighted with the number of schools that are taking part in the Explorers Healthy Ocean project module that is being delivered by the Explorers teams around Ireland,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Explorers Education Programme and Camden Education Trust.

“The schools working with the Explorers outreach centres will be learning about the ocean and how to take action to improve ocean health.”

The Explorers teams and schools will be working on the healthy ocean projects over the next term where they will be able to select one of three categories to focus on.

The first category includes incorporating a marine theme into a science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) project.

The second category includes developing an ocean literacy Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) creative project which addresses an SDG. This may be based on SDG topics such as climate change, wellness and life underwater.

The final category is providing teachers and students an opportunity to complete a project outdoors, ranging from creating outdoor sculptures to beach cleans.

This is the first year of the Ocean Champions Awards, and submissions will be judged by a team of marine and education experts. The winners will receive a Marine Institute Explorers Ocean Champion Award for their school. Winners will be announced around World Ocean Day on Wednesday 8 June.

There are some places still available for schools to take part in the Ocean Champions Awards. For more information, see Explorers School Projects on the Explorers Education Programme at www.explorers.ie.

Published in Marine Science

To celebrate Science Week, the Marine Institute and the Explorers Education Programme are supporting the 2021 Galway Science and Technology Festival, which kicked off on Sunday 7 November and continues to Sunday 21 November.

“We are delighted to engage with parents and children again this year to inspire the next generation to be ocean champions and pursue marine careers,” said the Marine Institute’s Patricia Orme.

The Explorers Education Programme and Galway Atlantaquaria are providing school classes with guided tours of Ireland’s largest native species aquarium.

Primary school children will receive an Explorers resource pack and access the aquarium’s virtual tour. Explorers’ Wild About Wildlife on the Seashore short films will also be showcased for Science Week.

Dive beneath the surface to explore our deep sea in The Wild Atlantic – Sea Science exhibition at Galway City Museum. Free to visitors, the gallery features new exhibitions on climate change, surveys at sea, and life along the seashore.

In the ROV simulator, explore ocean depths like a marine scientist and discover cold-water corals, shipwrecks and a rare shark nursery.

Visitors to the exhibition can pick up a free children's activity book to continue exploring the marine world from home.

Those engaging virtually can learn about our ocean and climate with ‘The Science Guy’ Mark Langtry in the Marine Institute’s Sea Science Series available on the Galway Science & Technology Festival website.

Mark brings the wonders of sea science to the screen with his entertaining, sometimes explosive, and educational sea science shows. The four-part series includes episodes on ocean acidification, creating ocean currents, and experiments on temperature and salinity.

And discover how scientists at the Marine Institute are increasing our understanding of the ocean through their research with the ‘Our People’ video series, which profiles the study and career paths of our people and the work they do at the Marine Institute.

Meanwhile, the Marine Institute is running a competition on the Galway Science & Technology Festival Facebook page. View the short film Ireland's Marine Life and guess the correct number of species featured for the chance to win a LEGO City Ocean Exploration Submarine Set.

In Ireland’s Marine Life, follow Fiadh, a gannet journeying over and underwater and meeting sea creatures along the way — from tiny hermit crabs and jellyfish to dolphins and basking sharks.

Published in Marine Science

Primary classrooms throughout Ireland are celebrating cephalopods throughout the month of October with the launch of the Explorers Education Programme’s new educational resources focusing on squid.

Marine scientists around the world have been studying squid for many years, learning about their evolution, what they eat and what eats them, as well as their habitats and distribution in the global ocean,” says the Marine Institute’s Patricia Orme.

“When talking about cephalopods, we often think of the charismatic octopus, or the cuttlefish and their ability to change colours. However, squid also have special qualities, including the ability to see long distances in the dark, and being able to fly above the water.”

Squid have also been a point of interest for storytellers, artists, film-makers and museum curators the world over, says Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust.

“Led by the work of scientists, researchers and storytellers, the Explorers team are delighted to have produced a series of resources that will inspire teachers and children to learn more about the ocean, and possibly become ocean explorers themselves,” she adds.

Find the new resources on the Explorers microsite, and follow the Explorers Education Programme on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more fun facts about squid … and even the fearsome Kraken!

Published in Marine Science

The Explorers Education Programme has been expanded to deliver modules to primary schools in all of Ireland’s coastal counties.

Established in Galway over 15 years ago and funded by the Marine Institute, the Explorers programme now reaches schools all around the coast — including Leitrim, the coastal county with the shortest coastline — via outreach teams offering a wide range of marine science modules for the classroom and field trips to the seashore.

With this expansion, the programme says its teams will also be able to offer online and blended learning modules to classes from inland counties.

“With an increasing awareness of ocean literacy and the value of ocean sciences in Ireland, we can’t wait to share all of what the Explorers team have to offer with primary schools in these new counties,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, strategic education and communications manager with the Camden Education Trust.

“We have been very lucky to have been working with a group of marine education experts and outreach officers for a number of years, and we are now extremely pleased to be working with additional new members joining the team.

“They have all showed how extremely passionate they are about sharing their ocean knowledge with children, as well as supporting teachers with the delivery of marine-themed content that can be used on the primary schools curriculum.”

Explorers team members will be working with primary school teachers introducing a range of exciting marine projects and resources over the coming months, covering topics such as marine biodiversity and environmental awareness to a range of STEM topics leading up to Maths Week in October and Science Week in November.

“The teams can reach classes delivering face-to-face project modules held in the class, seashore safaris, as well as through online and blended learning. Our new Explorers Back to School Brochure also provides information about our modules and links to the centres for bookings,” Dromgool-Regan said.

The outreach teams that deliver the Explorers programme to primary school children include: Leave No Trace Ireland; Galway Atlantaquaria; Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre in Co Kerry; Old Cork Waterworks Experience; Oceanics Surf School in Tramore; and Marine Dimensions in Bray.

Enquiries about bookings can be made directly to the above centres. Schools and classes located within inland counties should be sent to the Explorers support services team at Galway Atlantaquaria to check on an outreach centre’s availability.

The Explorers Education Programme also has a wide range of teaching materials that are freely available on the explorers.ie website.

Published in Marine Science

The Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme has launched a new book, An Ocean of Stories - An Anthology of Children’s Ocean Stories, leading up to World Oceans Day this Tuesday 8 June.

The book, published by Explorers Education officer Carmel Madigan of the Loophead Summer Hedge School, includes over 50 stories, artworks and poems by children from counties Clare and Limerick who were inspired by ocean experiences — and highlights the major role the ocean has in our everyday lives.

Patricia Orme, joint acting CEO of the Marine Institute, congratulated Madigan and the Explorers team on the launch of the book.

“Carmel always puts the children first and this book has helped children find a positive place in a time that has been challenging for many in primary schools over the past year,” she said.

‘Each of the children's stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our interconnection with the sea’

“While we celebrate World Oceans Day – The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods, this book reminds us of our childhood experiences and our love for and relationship with the sea.

“Reading the stories of children jumping off piers and their stories of the adventures of rock-pooling reminds us of how fortunate we are to live on an island surrounded by the ocean, where we can enjoy amazing beaches and coastline.

“Each of the children's stories are engaging, capture the imagination and highlight the importance of our interconnection with the sea. I am sure many will treasure this wonderful book in years to come.”

Madigan ran the Explorers project with 14 classes over the last school term, to engage teachers and children in the idea of documenting their experiences and memories of the seashore and the ocean.

‘The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking’

With the production of an Explorers Personal Story Writing Guidebook and a series of short videos, as well as video chat sessions, the children were guided through the process of capturing their own stories about the ocean, through a series of creative writing exercises.

“I am delighted that I was able to bring something to the classroom that was fresh and new to the children with this project,” Madigan said. “Working with the teachers, and the Explorers team, we created a positive experience for the children promoting a sense of wellness and well-being.

“The stories are the children’s own, their lived experiences intertwined with creative thinking. Some are pure fact and some are pure fiction – all were a joy to read! The children should be very proud of their contributions. They are truly beautiful, engaging and thoughtful, making for wonderful insightful reading, whatever your age.”

Over 300 stories were produced by the children, highlighting the importance of including marine themes on the curriculum.

 Some of the children whose work is featured in An Ocean of StoriesSome of the children whose work is featured in An Ocean of Stories

“The stories and poems produced by the children conjure up many memories of sand in the sandwiches, being tumbled by waves, to having a big ice cream on the way home!” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan of the Camden Education Trust and Explorers strategic education manager.

“I am sure that for many who read this book, they will also turn the pages smiling with similar recollections of their own seashore and ocean experiences.

"Carmel has delivered a number of valuable projects with children over the years and her experience as an artist, author and ocean enthusiast is reflected in her work for the Explorers Education Programme. I sincerely hope that this book inspires those that read it.

“As one of the stories written about a sailor's adventure traveling across the seas says: the ocean may separate us physically around the world, but it provides us the opportunity to bring humanity together! Well done to all!”

Published in Book Review

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
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