Category Archives: Schools

Why we use live marine animals in educating children

Photo: Kids In Action Sunshine Coast, 2014

Photo: Kids In Action Sunshine Coast, 2014

Every so often teachers say to us, “I’m not sure about using live marine animals in our incursions, isn’t it better to leave them in their natural environment?”

It’s a common moral question I’m sure we have all asked ourselves before.

The short answer is yes, animals should be in their natural environments. What I also like to ask in response to this question is “how do we inspire young Australians to appreciate the living environment if they have never come into contact with it?”

Ocean Life Education was built upon the principles of respect for the environment, respect for its animals and a belief that education and understanding will honour the first two.

As a Marine Ecologist with a passion for the ocean and an avid diver and sailor, my family and I spend our leisure time at the beach or out on the ocean. When we holiday, we holiday at places that showcase the natural wonder of our oceans so our children grow up having this same love and respect for the natural environment.

We created Ocean Life Education in 2006, so we could lead the world in the changes necessary for a healthy planet. To realise this vision, we knew we would need to create a sense of ownership and protectiveness of our oceans in the students and children we teach.

Live marine animals in Education for Sustainability

Our programs are based upon the principles of Education for Sustainability.

The EfS theory “goes beyond providing information about the environment. It is a process which motivates and engages people in creating sustainable futures…” (ARIES).

Through our interactive educational programs, children learn why animals’ look and feel the way they do, how their bodies function, what their individual role is in their environment and therefore why we need to look after them.

This is how we fulfil our EfS role in engaging and equipping students for positive change that will last a lifetime.

Regulated industry and legislation

At Ocean Life Education, we are committed to animal welfare, care and sustainability. We abide by the relevant legislation such as the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

Our animals are sourced from world leading suppliers of sustainably collected marine specimens to ensure the safety and protection of the environment.

urchin on hand

Sea Urchin, one of the live marine animals used in the Ocean Life Education programs

Managed handling

We are dedicated to the welfare of our marine animals while in our protection and during our programs.

Our strict ‘1 finger touch’ policy helps us to maintain a positively controlled learning environment for the children and the animals. We ask young children to say and use our care for animal catch phrase “stroking not poking”.

How we use animals in our programs

Want to see what it’s like when we visit your classroom with our animals? Watch this short video when Ten’s Totally Wild joined us on a school visit.

Still want to know more? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.

If you still have questions, we’d be happy to answer them. Phone us on 07 5443 8545.

Science Week 2015 Wrap Up

year 4 student clayfield college

Clayfield College Year 4 student

By Richard Coward

Wow what a Science Week we’ve just had, a fantastic initiative to get kids engaged in all things science.

No better way to love science than to learn all about our amazing marine creatures, why they are important and why we should look after them.

Participating Schools

Some huge thanks go out to Clayfield College, St Joseph’s School Nundah, Parklands Christian College and Brisbane Adventist College for hosting us during Science Week.

Every one of the kids were an absolute pleasure to share knowledge with, they enjoyed the close contact with our animals absorbing all aspects of their existence.

Program learning focus

With volumes of information available about creatures from the sea, the main focus of learning were in there areas of:

  • Adaptation
  • Classification
  • Habitats; and
  • Human impact

Each school program is extremely engaging and fun to cover, the latter an increasingly important topic within schools as we strive to understand and protect our surrounding environment under the pressure of an ever increasing population.

Memorable moments shared

Visiting these schools provided many memorable moments, too many to share in a short blog post. Here is a small sample from our schools visited this week.

  • Total participation and enthrallment at explaining why sharks attack humans  (Yr 4 Clayfield College)
  • The fun and challenge of delivering 5 different presentations to every year level throughout the whole school day (P-6 St Josephs)
  • The thrill and enjoyment on the faces of the Prep children as they interacted with our live animals (Parklands Christian College)
  • Total engagement of children with good background knowledge and amazing intelligent questions at the presentation’s conclusion. (Yr 1 Brisbane Adventist College)

Invaluable Experience

Science Week provides children the chance to see that science is a fun and cool subject to learn.

It is important to keep encouraging children to pursue science throughout their academic lives and continue to produce creative successful scientists of the future.

Children are often scared off by science and all its jargon, but at Ocean Life Education we break down that barrier, make understanding animals and their natural environment simple and easy to remember. This empowers children and encourages them to dig deeper in search for answers.

Once again we would like to thank the schools who included our incursion into their celebration of Science Week, we look forward to seeing them again in future and encourage all schools to jump on board and enlighten their children towards a brighter scientific future.

We strive to provide an invaluable experience propelling the school kids of today into the scientists of tomorrow.

For great conversation, videos and more, visit the National Science Week website.

To book your next Science Week incursion with Ocean Life Education, contact us.

Why our approach to curriculum connection has never been so important

Why our approach to curriculum connection has never been so important

By Richard Coward

Understanding our surrounding environment, our impact upon it and why we need to protect it has never been more important.

Fortunately, the Australian Curriculum is moving toward an improved coverage of key concepts and understanding within biological and Earth sciences across all primary year levels.

Ocean Life Education offers a fantastic opportunity for teachers to use our programs as a learning resource that is engaging, providing meaningful interactive learning whilst linking to related curriculum modules.

Our approach, is to bring key concepts together giving students a better understanding of the bigger picture.

We help students understand animals and their given habitat, how they differ from other animals, why they look and feel the way they do, what their importance is to the environment they live in, what problems humans create for them and why we need to look after them and their habitats.

For example, sea stars have a tough flat body to protect them from their harsh habitat (the shallow foreshore). They belong to a group of animals called ‘Echinoderms’ as they have tube feet and pump water around their body not blood to keep them alive. The sea stars eat algae and dead animals off the ocean floor, keeping it clean and healthy. If we pollute the water, sea stars will struggle to survive in their habitat. The problem lies in that if our human impacts result in dying sea stars, we lose an important cleaner of the ocean floor, resulting in a complexity of negative effects.

We take the approach of helping students to understand these cause and effect links to help keep our environment clean – to ensure the animals’ survival, and ours.

We deliver school programs that provide alignment with the Australian Curriculum Science strands: Science Understanding for Biological Science and Earth & Space Sciences, as well as Science as a Human Endeavour.

Using live marine animals, we provide a unique depth of engagement and understanding.

Our marine science incursions are a truly rewarding and refreshing way for students to learn key concepts set out by the national curriculum.

Visit our school programs page for a range of available programs.

Ocean Life an Interactive School Incursion

interactivepost-img

By Richard Coward

Ocean Life Education delivers fun marine education incursions, where students are given the opportunity to interact with a variety of live marine creatures.

Through positive controlled contact children learn why animals’ look and feel the way they do, how their bodies function, what their individual role is in their environment and therefore why we need to look after them.

Initial focus with children is on individual animals, the next step is to explain their role in their specific environment, from here the question is asked; “what would happen if this animal was removed/extinct?” Finally, what impacts are we as humans having on the animals and their environment?

Responding to interactive learning

Interactive learning covers all modes of learning such as visual, auditory and kinaesthetic (touch). We understand all children are different and learn in different ways, some may be visual not auditory, others kinaesthetic not visual. This means the message of protecting through understanding is far reaching and more effective.

Children respond very well to hands on interactive learning, with the real animal at their fingertips information given to them has much greater meaning than learning from a book, white board or a story.

This one-on-one experience provides a greater depth of understanding which leads to the desire to protect them.

Marine studies linked to the Australian Curriculum

Our hope is to imprint in every Australian a sense of ownership and protectiveness of our marine environment, and together we will lead the world in the changes necessary for a healthy planet.

Ocean Life Education marine incursions are accredited by Education Queensland and are linked to the Australian National Curriculum and C2C for science and biological education.

A variety of marine education programs are offered for schools, vacation care, special events and conferences.

Choose a program that suits current unit themes

Our fun and interactive programs cover topics such as plastic pollution, climate change, human impact issues, classification, conservation and life cycles to name a few.

We can also tailor our programs to your classrooms’ current unit theme for all levels of school learning.

What we’re known for

Ocean Life Education is proud to be involved in educating tomorrow’s leaders in environmental awareness and protection.

We are pleased to have presented at renowned environmental events such as Indigiscapes, Sunshine Coast University’s World Environment Day and and Explorama as well as the Australian Association for Environmental Educator’s World Environmental Education Congress in Brisbane 2011.

We’ve also featured on children’s television program, Totally Wild, twice.

We are leaders in environmental education

We are of the firm belief that Australia is a leading nation in environmental education, but we are only scratching the surface, we must be resolute and continue to develop and alter the general populations’ mindset and put environmental sustainability at the top of the list of priorities.

The job of looking after and sustaining our environment for the future isn’t just one for the governments it is one for everybody.

What to expect:

  • Qualified marine educators arrive at your school or event and set up an area for discussion, storytelling, resource exploration and of course hands on interaction.
  • We bring fascinating live marine animals, artefacts, games and information.
  • Students may encounter baby sharks, turtles, sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and more.
  • Open display tubs are used for easy interaction and provide an entertaining, educational programme that lasts in the student’s minds forever.
  • When we leave, students are talking about the live animals for weeks!

What more information?

For more information, visit our School Programs page or Contact Us to make a booking.