National Marine Aquarium introduces online lessons for school children

The National Marine Aquarium, an initiative of the Ocean Conservation Trust, will provide the background for the broadcasting of an exciting series of free, live lessons. The live lessons will assist with home learning whilst also providing a chance for children and their parents and teachers to gain some of the wellbeing benefits that have been proven to come from watching aquatic life.

Every Friday during lockdown, viewers will be able to tune in to two special shows on the aquarium’s YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/NMAPlymouth

The first, ‘Deep Science’ (1:00pm – 1:20pm) will see the Aquarium’s own Schools Team using aquarium exhibits and lab facilities to explore the science behind the animated ocean exploration tv series ‘The Deep’ (CBBC @12pm on weekdays during lockdown). Expect fascinating facts and real time experiments, as well as ideas to follow up with at home.

Key themes for each week are as follows:

  • 15th Jan – Underwater Volcanoes
  • 22nd Jan – Creature Classification
  • 29th Jan – Nautical Navigation
  • 5th Feb – Ocean Mysteries
  • 12th Feb – Megafauna
  • 19th Feb – Life Cycles
  • 26th Feb – Looking after the Ocean

‘Mermaid Tales’ will air from 1:30 – 1:45pm and will involve a short story narrated by the Aquarium’s resident mermaid, Marina – perfect timing before an afternoon nap, or as a gentle, relaxing start to the afternoon.

Stu Higgs, Schools Programme Manager for the Ocean Conservation Trust, said: “With the news of further school closures hitting the headlines in the New Year we wanted to make sure we were doing our bit to support the thousands of students and teachers who visit us at the Aquarium every year.

“Research has shown that encounters with marine environments (physical or virtual) have a powerful effect on our emotional state and general wellbeing, and with the country in lockdown there has never been a more important time to ensure everyone has access to a weekly dose of ocean. That’s why we’re launching our new live lesson series on YouTube starting this Friday the 15th!

“Whether you’re looking for something to round your week off with a bang, or help you wind down for the weekend, our new YouTube live lessons series should hit the spot”.

The content of the lessons will also help children to feel part of the start of the global UN Decade of Ocean Science for sustainable development.

Nicola Bridge, Head of Conservation Education and Communications for the charity, said: “Despite the continued Covid-related restrictions we are all under, our suite of accessible online resources will help those home schooling get access to valuable resources and interactive activities.

“The UK is a national and global leader in marine science, and we feel Ocean related teaching should therefore be an essential part of the core curriculum offering and want to help facilitate that.  We also want to support parents and teachers in this difficult time for everyone.

“The Ocean provides half of the oxygen we breathe, drives the weather and climate and is a valuable food source for much of the world, and to look after it for future generations, we need to create an Ocean literate generation – that is to say, a generation that understands the ways in which we are all inextricably connected to it, just as it is to us.”

In 2020 the Ocean Conservation Trust also launched virtual tours of the Aquarium and downloadable lessons for schools, which teachers can incorporate into their home learning plans for students of all ages. These sessions have been updated to include capacity for up to 100 home-based students to connect to and participate in simultaneously in response to the school closures announced at the start of the year.

Full details of all the school support materials and offers from the OCT are available online at https://www.national-aquarium.co.uk/learning-at-the-aquarium/home-learning-sessions/

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