Friday, 10 April 2015

Oceans Alive! Sea Champions take our workshops into schools

At the end of 2014 we ran three training days for Sea Champions interested in working with children, teaching them how to deliver our education workshops. It’s now a few months on and they have done a fantastic job getting out in their local communities sharing our messages with the young marine conservationists of the future. Sea Champion Imogen tells us how things have been going so far. 

2015 for me was all about trying something new and this is exactly why I decided to help deliver educational sessions for the Marine Conservation Society. Teaching was something I had never really considered and I the thought of over two-hundred children watching your every move in an assembly I found quite daunting. However, after a training day in Bristol with MCS, ironically teaching me how to teach, I was ready for my first school!

My first visit was to a school in Plymouth and it coincided with British Science Week, which was fantastic as everyone was dressed head to toe in science gear! The day started off with delivering the ‘Oceans Alive Assembly’ to the entire school. This assembly includes a marine litter game, where we ask some children to pick an item of litter and guess how long they think it takes to degrade. The best way to describe this game is as ‘controlled chaos’! The assembly hall suddenly goes into uproar, with children shouting or talking to their neighbour about the task in hand. I personally think it is fantastic to hear over 100 students discussing marine litter all at once because it really shows how these workshops are working.

After the assembly, I also had the opportunity to deliver the ‘Aliens of the Deep’ workshop to children in Year 3. It’s a wonderful feeling teaching school children about our oceans. Many are fascinated by what animals can live in the deep sea; with a special mention to the Blobfish that never fails to have a classroom filled with laughter.  After the workshop there were so many questions, each one being completely different from the next. Someone could be asking “how long does plastic take to degrade?” Another asking, “why are there fish in the sea?” It always keeps me on my toes!

Requests for these workshops all over Plymouth have started rolling in, and the calendar started filling up. Since then, I have been able to deliver these workshops to two more schools and have another five lined up.  I can honestly say that I am loving every second!

I was also fortunate enough to win a science outreach competition called “I’m a Scientist, Get me Out of Here”. Imagine X Factor, but for scientists! Within this competition I was against other scientists communicating with kids about our research and our ideas on science as a whole. I am over the moon to say I won and received £500 to spend on science outreach. I didn’t have to think twice about donating it to the educational sessions with MCS and I can’t wait to see how this money can further develop the sessions. 

I would really encourage people to get involved in these educational sessions as they are so rewarding, and enjoyable. You can see first-hand how these workshops make an impact.  If you are like me, and find public speaking a bit scary, this is the perfect opportunity to boost your confidence.  It is perfect because you will be fully supported by the Sea Champions and Education team at MCS who will train you and help you to get started

So... three schools down, plenty more to go!