Our oceans are fascinating places – experts estimate that they are home to somewhere between 700,000 and 1 million different species. With water covering 71% of the Earth’s surface, our oceans remain one of the last unexplored places on the planet: a fact that grips the attention of children, whatever their age.
Whether you’re teaching your pupils about the feeding habits of fish, or explaining why some sharks have more than one row of teeth, there are a few ways that you can inject some energy into your lessons and make sure that your pupils take in as much information as they can about the ocean.
It’s time to put those tiny creative minds to use – utilise your art lesson and get your pupils to make some marine-life cutouts that you can use later on. This is a great way to familiarise them with different types of fish, turtles, and other creatures that can be found in the ocean.
Collect their creations and use them as a learning aid – giving your pupils both a visual and kinesthetic insight into the animals that can be found in our oceans. If you’re feeling really creative, you can use any leftover card to put together a submarine cutout that can be used to demonstrate to your pupils the different depths at which these creatures can be found.
Teaching children about the effect that plastic waste has on our environment is also an important part of learning about the ocean. If you employ those art skills once again, you could use old plastic bottles found around your school to make displays about the environment for the rest of the school to see – educational and eco-friendly.
Some marine life wouldn’t look out of place in a science-fiction film – just look at the feathery crinoid; even its name sounds futuristic. Sometimes, these weird and wonderful creatures speak for themselves, and showing your pupils images or videos of them in their natural habitats will be enough to inspire them to learn more.
There are plenty of online resources that will provide you with what you need to educate your pupils. Making use of images and videos to demonstrate different parts of the ocean curriculum will solidify their understanding and will help you to pass your knowledge on to them.
Storytelling is a highly effective learning tool – especially for the younger pupils. This is because the human brain is naturally programmed to make sense of narratives: an ability that helps us to retain information when it is learned in the context of a story.
Creating a narrative around marine life is an exciting and inspiring way to engage your pupils – especially when there is already a host of relatable marine characters at your disposal. This gives you a good opportunity to make use of all three types of learning (audio, visual, and kinaesthetic) as you take your class on a journey to the depths of the ocean.
Show and Tell
Making a lesson interactive is a great way to engage your pupils and help them to retain information. Bringing real-life sea creatures to school isn’t the most practical way to deliver a lesson, but you can go for the next best thing. If you have the time to take a trip down to your nearest beach, you will be able to find a range of old shells that act as great visual cues for your students to follow.
Alternatively, you can find plenty of replica starfish, coral, and conches online – which will give your pupils a feel for ocean life. Websites like National Geographic have created various resources that you can use to bring an interactive element to your lesson – including this useful guide to shark sizes!
Bristol Aquarium: Enhancing the Learning Experience
When it comes to our oceans, we believe that it’s important to both educate and influence. Our oceans make up some of the last unexplored areas of our planet, and giving pupils the right insights early on could inspire them to lead the way in the future of marine exploration and conservation.
For a hands-on educational experience surrounding our planet’s marine life, check out our educational tours that are sure to keep your pupils educated and entertained!