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Displaying items by tag: Explorers Education Programme

Pupils of Scoil Iósaif Naofa, Oranmore Boys National School in Co Galway have been presented with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Ocean Champion Award for the Best STEM and Cross Curricular project by Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Transport.

Congratulating the children and teachers involved in their healthy ocean project, ‘Ocean Aware Because We Care’, Minister Naughton said: “The Explorers Ocean Champions Award is a fantastic example of an all-inclusive school approach to learn about our local marine environment and heritage.

“The incredible effort of the teachers, children, Explorers outreach team, and the partners from local boat builders to scientists and seabed mappers from INFOMAR shows that this project went beyond the classroom and highlights the value of teaching as a community.”

As part of the Explorers Ocean Champion project and awards initiative, the programme Manager, Camden Education Trust and the Explorers Education Programme outreach teams have worked with 28 primary schools, reaching up to 3,500 children and 124 teachers across 13 coastal counties, creating ‘healthy ocean’ projects covering themes from STEM and outdoor education to the arts and ocean literacy.

The minister added: “The title of the school project called ‘Ocean Aware Because We Care’ is a wonderful slogan, as it represents the importance of learning about our ocean at a local level, so we are able to care for it now and into the future.

“The children’s extensive learning experience from visiting the displays at Galway City Museum, Galway Atlantaquaria, beach cleans coupled with school visits from the INFOMAR seabed mapping team, is a great example of local organisations working with the schools to inspire them to learn about the ocean. This project also helps open up opportunities to inspire future marine scientists and ocean champions.”

School principal Maeve Meeneghan congratulated the lead teacher Ms Lillis and the Explorers outreach officer Noirin Burke, saying: “The Explorers Ocean Champions initiative promoted a culture of improvement, collaboration, innovation and creativity in learning and teaching beyond our imagination. It empowered staff to take on and carry out leadership roles and above all else, it awakened and built on our awareness of the natural resource on our doorstep here in Oranmore.”

Published in Environment

The black seadevil anglerfish was voted as “one of the ugliest deep-sea fish species” during the launch of the new Explorers Education Programme book and resources, The Good, The Bad + The Ugly: Deep Sea Species, which took place at the Marine Institute exhibit at the Galway Science and Technology Festival 2022.

Inspired by the work of the Marine Institute’s scientists that carry out deep-sea fishing surveys on board the research vessels each year, Cushla Dromgool-Regan — Explorers strategic education and communications manager at Camden Education Trust — said she was delighted to produce a new book and resources that showcased the amazing marine wildlife that are found in the deepest parts of the ocean in Ireland and around the world.

“I love deep-sea animals and their amazing ability to adapt under extreme conditions,” she said. “The animals selected for the book were based on some of our favourite deep-sea species that we have affectionately called the good, the bad and the ugly — because of their incredible features that help them survive. Some look cute but are deadly and others look angry but are basically looking for their next meal.”

Families were introduced to some of these amazing animals at the exhibit, where they saw a display of supersized photos of the deep-sea species. The blobfish known as Mr Blobby, the viperfish with giant fangs, the hagfish that produces slime in seconds and the goblin shark with a protruding jaw were just some of the children’s favourites.

The Explorers programme team were delighted to see their mascot, the black seadevil anglerfish come in with top votes by children “who loved learning about its bioluminescent lure, expandable stomach and huge mouth that can pretty much eat anything it can get its mouth around”, Dromgool-Regan added.

“There are over 200 species of anglerfish. Among them, the species known as the monkfish can open its mouth wide enough to engulf other animals larger than itself. It is reported that monkfish have been found with birds in their stomachs including gulls, puffins and cormorants.”

‘The workbook and lessons and activities will help develop children’s STEM skills, while also increasing their engagement in the ocean’

Patricia Orme, corporate services director with the Marine Institute congratulated the Explorers team on the production of the excellent new resources.

“This will certainly generate excitement in the classroom!” she said. “The materials are packed full of photos and graphics showing the greatest explorers, ocean zones as well as the weird and wonderful creatures that call the deep-sea home.

“The workbook and lessons and activities are also really well illustrated and we are sure will help develop children’s STEM skills, while also increasing their engagement in the ocean.”

The Good, The Bad + The Ugly: Deep Sea Species and resources are free to download from the Explorers website. The Explorers team will also be delivering deep-sea species class projects with primary schools, where teachers will receive printed copies of the introductory book and workbooks with a range of cross-curricular activities for the children.

There are over 20 activities to choose from such as making an anglerfish light card — learning about electricity and circuits — to one of the Explorers teams’ favourites: creating fashion from slime, inspired by the hag fish.

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, the State agency for marine research and development, and delivered by outreach centres to primary schools around the country, as well as for Leave No Trace Ireland, Galway Atlantaquaria, Sea Synergy, Old Cork Waterworks – Lifetime Lab, Oceanics and SEASHOREKIDS.

Published in Marine Wildlife

A five-day continuing professional development (CPD) course has been successfully delivered in person to over 70 primary school teachers in Waterford, Kerry, Galway and for the first time in Cork.

Plus, a further 40 teachers are completed the Explorers Education Programme course online.

The programme, approved by the Department of Education and Skills, provides primary school teachers with the ocean knowledge and skills to introduce marine themes through cross-curricular teaching such as science, maths, geography, English and arts in classroom, as well as conducting field trips to the seashore.

Exploring sand dunes and rock pools, creating art pieces from flotsam and jetsam, conducting beach-clean games on the shore as well as learning about the seashore animals and the different types of seaweeds are all ways to teach children how to interact with the natural world.

Congratulating the Explorers team involved in the delivery of the programme nationwide, Patricia Orme, corporate services director with the Marine Institute said: “These courses are key to introducing teachers to ocean concepts, environmental awareness and climate change.

“We are delighted to see in-person CPD courses back in full swing and the Explorers first online course is also doing extremely well. The expansion of the CPD summer teachers training courses reaching over 100 teachers this year is testament to the hard work of the Explorers team and the ongoing support also provided by the education centres in Galway, Waterford, Tralee–Kerry, West Cork and Mayo.”

Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers strategic education and communications manager with the Camden Education Trust thanked the teachers for their enthusiasm in teaching marine subjects in their classrooms.

Rory McAvinney from Galway Atlantaquaria delivers the Exploring Ireland’s Seashore course tho primary school teachers in Galway | Credit: Maria Vittoria MarraRory McAvinney from Galway Atlantaquaria delivers the Exploring Ireland’s Seashore course tho primary school teachers in Galway | Credit: Maria Vittoria Marra

“We were delighted with the positive feedback and especially where a number of teachers said that the skills learned during the training have also provided them with far reaching skills beyond the classroom and within their communities,” she said.

“One teacher explained that she had recently seen a mother finding it difficult to answer her child’s questions about what they were seeing on the shore in the rock pools, and unfortunately quickly pulled the child along.

“The teacher said at the time she felt disappointed she couldn’t help, but now after completing the Explorers course, she feels confident to help potential seashore explorers in this situation. She is now looking forward to paying it forward and encouraging children and parents to keep exploring over the summer, as well as when she gets back to school.

“The teacher's positive feedback and enthusiasm is very encouraging and highlights the importance of sharing our knowledge about the ocean. The idea of ‘paying it forward’ to inspire a new generation of ocean advocates is key to helping children develop a greater appreciation of the importance of the ocean and an understanding of the significant impact it has on our daily lives.”

The CPD course, Exploring Ireland’s Seashore through Science, Maths, Geography, English and Art, is still open for teachers to complete online. Registration closes on Wednesday 17 August. For further information see elearning.mayoeducationcentre.ie.

The Explorers Education Programme is managed by the Camden Education Trust and support services are provided by Galway Atlantaquaria. Explorers teams involved in the CPD training include Leave no Trace - Ireland (Waterford), Lifetime Lab (Cork), Sea Synergy (Kerry) and Galway Atlantaquaria (Galway).

The Explorers Education Programme is funded by the Marine Institute, Ireland’s State agency for marine research, technology development and innovation. For further information about the Explorer Education Programme see www.explorers.ie.

Published in Marine Science

The Explorers Education Programme has launched a new online teaching course that will enable teachers all over Ireland to learn about how to bring the ocean into the classroom.

Presented in collaboration with the Mayo Education Centre, the online course — Exploring Ireland's Seashore through Science, Maths, Geography, English & Art — is approved for EPV (Extra Personal Vacation) certification by the Department of Education and will take around 20 hours to complete.

The online course aims to bring the ocean and seashore into the classroom via a range of specially recorded short videos with the Explorers team.

These films and associated activities are designed to guide teachers through developing their ocean literacy, planning seashore trips, exploring marine biodiversity through the existing curriculum, as well as reflecting on human impacts on the ocean and much more.

Anna Quinn, Dr Noirin Burke and Padraic Creedon of the Explorers team filming for online seashore resources and the teacher training course | Credit: Cushla Dromgool-ReganAnna Quinn, Dr Noirin Burke and Padraic Creedon of the Explorers team filming for online seashore resources and the teacher training course | Credit: Cushla Dromgool-Regan

The course runs from 4 July to 19 August. Early bird bookings cost €59 until 30 June after which the cost is €69. Further details and how to book can be found at the Mayo Education Centre website.

Speaking about the new online course, Michael McKenzie, director of the Mayo Education Centre said: “We are delighted to work with the Explorers team this year to provide an online course for teachers as part of the summer courses approved by the Department of Education and Skills. The content that the Explorers team have developed helps make the ocean as accessible as possible for teachers.”

Further information about the Explorers teachers training can be found on explorers.ie.

Published in Marine Science

Kilglass National School in Ahascragh, Co Galway has received the European Blue Schools Award for a mini-project that helped bring marine issues into the classroom.

The award is in recognition of the school’s Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor pilotless mini-boat project that “helped bring real-life marine content to their classroom, which is one of the leading principles of the European Blue Schools Programme”, said Evy Copejans, coordinator of the European Blue Schools Programme.

Congratulated the students of Kilglass NS for their achievement, Copejans said: “This is a very special occasion for Kilglass NS, as they are one of the first primary schools in Ireland to become a European Blue School.”

Presenting the award at Marine Institute headquarters in Oranmore to Peter Kane, who led the project at Kilglass NS, chief executive Dr Paul Connolly joined in congratulating the school on their achievement.

“To become a European Blue School, students are encouraged to become responsible and engaged ocean-literate citizens. The Seoltóir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor unmanned mini-boat project demonstrated that the children from Kilglass recognised the importance of the ocean in our lives,” he said.

Kane said he was very proud to receive the European Blue Schools plaque: “Working on this project with the Marine Institute’s Explorers Education Programme provided us with an excellent opportunity to involve all of the school in a marine-themed project.

“Everyone took ownership of the project — from painting and naming the boat to the handover at the RV Celtic Explorer for its launch at sea, and also tracking it while at sea.

“The cross-curricular content provided by the Explorers programme enabled the children to get hands-on practical skills, including critical thinking and reasoning, problem solving, working in collaboration with other children, as well as developing their creative and communication skills.

“This project also helped the children to learn more about their role as global citizens and becoming ocean leaders."

The European Blue Schools Award is led by the EU4Ocean Coalition and supported by the European Commission.

Published in Marine Science

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
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