Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches, Lectures

Adding a New Audience to Deep-Sea Research: Making a Splash with Elementary School Children

Event Name/Location

2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, Oregon, February 11-16, 2018

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WhaleTimes, Inc. partnered with grant-funded (GoMRI (DEEPEND Consortium) and NSF) scientists to bring two different deep-sea research projects to life in classrooms and summer camps. These educational partnerships focused on creating and providing education programs for kindergarten to 6th grade (k-6). K-6 audiences are often overlooked within Outreach/Education grant goals because of the challenges in presenting high level, complex concepts in engaging age-appropriate formats. Our unique approach brought that science to life, raised awareness of the deep-sea habitat, and inspired young children to think about STEM topics and careers. The programs were tailored to the specific research projects being funded, connected younger students with the scientists and their research in novel ways, and produced curricula that teachers could incorporate into their STEM curriculum. The programs and accompanying curricula also helped teachers provide a rich science experience for their classrooms and create a framework for expansion of discovery. Inclusion of k-6 students in on-going research is essential in creating lifelong STEM learners and citizens who understand why and how ocean research is essential to understanding ecosystems, animals, and protecting the ocean.