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Bringing oceans into the classroom
Lisa Pendergast
Faculty of Education students

Faculty of Education students are diving into ocean research topics to learn how to teach young children about the importance of oceans and how they impact their lives; sharing science, culture and history with the next generation.

Student groups in Ms. Sharon Pelech’s primary/elementary science curriculum class researched various aspects of the ocean to create an inquiry-based unit to teach science to students. Inquiry-based learning means that students are encouraged to ask open-ended questions, learn new concepts and explore solutions to their questions using real-world project examples.

“The primary/elementary science students were challenged to search for a topic that allowed authentic curricular connections to questions that were relevant to real, current issues in science,” said Ms. Pelech. “While the topics varied, many were able to find key issues that were crucial to the people of Newfoundland. These topics would allow young students to be deeply engaged in science and offer opportunities to understand the direct connections of the oceans to their lives.”

One of the student groups explored the world of icebergs. Their questions included, “Where do icebergs come from?” and “What they icebergs made up of?” They also looked for stories about icebergs to share with their class and future students. This is a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring the topic of oceans and icebergs for elementary students.

The iceberg group, consisting of Ms. Ashley Feaver, Ms. Nancy Ward, Ms. Kim Crocker and Ms. Ashlee Babb, was able to incorporate many other subjects, in addition to science, to their project. They met a number of curriculum outcomes through activities such as melting ice in water, mapping out an iceberg's journey, reading about where icebergs come from, researching what causes icebergs and what their composition is, exploring how long it takes for icebergs to travel from the glaciers to Newfoundland and Labrador, and even writing songs and poems about icebergs.

Their research brought up important issues about our oceans and lessons that should be passed on to the children of Newfoundland and Labrador. “One of the most important things that we learned through this project about oceans and icebergs is the impact that we have on these environments,” said Ms. Feaver. “The issues with global warming are causing the glaciers to melt, increasing the number of icebergs, and increasing the sea levels around the world.”

All four students are completing the Bachelor of Education as a Second Degree (Primary/Elementary). Ms. Feaver and Ms. Crocker are focusing in human kinetics and recreation, Ms. Ward has a focus area in biochemistry, and Ms. Babb has a focus area in English.

Other groups explored topics such as plastic in the ocean, implications for both the ocean environment and the wildlife, and what we can do to address these problems.

Sep 17th, 2014

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