Academic journal article Teaching Science

MESA: Supporting Teaching and Learning about the Marine Environment - Primary Science Focus

Academic journal article Teaching Science

MESA: Supporting Teaching and Learning about the Marine Environment - Primary Science Focus

Article excerpt

This article provides support for primary teachers looking for ways to integrate Science across the curriculum and increasing children's awareness of marine life and their environments. It includes practical activities based on lessons the author has conducted with pre-service student teachers and primary school students during Seaweek. STOP PRESS - Announcing the theme for Seaweek 11 (6-12 March) 'Spotlight on Marine Science'.


The Marine Education Society of Australasia Inc. is a national organisation of marine educators that aims to bring together people interested in the study and enjoyment of coastal and marine environments. MESA provides a forum for the sharing of ideas to facilitate the development of leading environmental education programs with a coastal and marine focus. MESA also promotes the sustainable use of marine and coastal environments through education and on-ground protection and conservation activities.

MESA representatives and members organise education and interpretation activities in support of schools and communities during a number of environmental calendar days and weeks: specifically Seaweek and includes World Wetlands Day, Earth Day, World Environment Day, Threatened Species Day, Biodiversity Month, Water Week and Coastcare Week. MESA members now receive bi-monthly newsletters which provide snippets about marine matters from around Australia.

Each year, the Marine Education Society of Australasia (MESA) runs Seaweek to promote educational issues of relevance to the marine environment. In 2010, the theme 'Oceans of Life - ours to explore, ours to restore' was chosen in recognition of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. Australia is surrounded by ocean which affects our climate, creates weather patterns and serves as a rich resource providing food, tourism and recreational activities. Our oceans vary from tropical, temperate and colder Antarctic waters and support an amazing diversity of marine habitats and unique marine life. Every year, Seaweek activities can:

* Inspire and inform your students about the significance and value of our marine and coastal environment;

* Initiate interest and actions for our marine and coastal environments;

* Introduce your students to activities and events facilitated in some states, through our State Representatives;

* Provide you with educational resources available on the MESA website for your classroom based activities; and

* Involve your school and community participation in marine studies and exploration.

Whilst this article has a primary science focus, Seaweek activities are designed for K-12.

The theme for Seaweek 2011: Spotlight on Marine Science will enable MESA to profile scientists who research marine species and environments and provide resources for teaching the Science as a Human Endeavour emphasis of the Draft Australian Science Curriculum.



(This activity was conducted at Lord Howe Island Central School in February this year as a precursor to the Island's annual Seaweek activities conducted by the LHI Seaweek committee members, Ian Hutton and Brian and Peter Busteed).

Pre lesson

Children were taken on an excursion to a rock platform in their local environment (Ned's Beach) to observe the variety of marine organisms that can be found right on their 'doorstep'. Back in the classroom, this activity integrates Science with Creative Arts by representing the characteristic features of a variety of marine organisms.


Ask the children to recall the types of living things they saw on the excursion (aided by displaying digital photos on the SMARTBoard that were taken on the excursion by students and teachers). Choose particular organisms to focus on and ask children what are their most striking features. …

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