The Ocean Conservation Trust provides free online lessons on aquatic life to school kids

New free online lessons for kids to assist parents with home learning are landing my inbox every day.  A series that has caught my eyes, in particular, is the one run by The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, an initiative of the Ocean Conservation Trust. These weekly live lessons will providing a chance for children, 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.

The first, ‘Deep Science’ saw 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:

  • Underwater Volcanoes – already online 
  • Creature Classification – already online 
  • 29th Jan 2021 – 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.

The idea originated from research that has shown that encounters with marine environments (physical or virtual) have a powerful effect on our emotional state and general wellbeing. 

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, it’s vital 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.

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 the Ocean Conservation Trust decided to launch this new live lesson series on Youtube. 

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.

The Ocean Conservation Trust’s downloadable lessons for schools are aimed at teachers who can incorporate them 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 here.

The Ocean Conservation Trust is a conservation charity with a national and international reach. It has been running the UK’s largest aquarium the much-loved National Marine Aquarium for the past 22 years as a centre of excellence in Ocean education and public/community engagement, alongside innovative conservation projects across the globe that put people at the centre of solutions.

In 2020 the Ocean Conservation Trust also launched virtual tours of the Aquarium to continue the vital fundraising for the aquarium. The National Marine Aquarium has come up with a way to keep families entertained at home and keep its Ocean Discovery Rangers busy through winter – by offering personalised tours of the aquarium’s tanks, which in turn will help boost funds for conservation and education during the latest lockdown.

Virtual visitors are invited to take a 1-hour tour with the Ocean Discovery Rangers, exploring the whole Ocean, from the rocky shores of the coast in Devon, all the way to the colourful corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Virtual visitors will also get VIP access to the top of the Atlantic Ocean Exhibit, and the chance to meet some of the National Marine Aquarium’s most popular residents, including a cheeky turtle called Friday.

The virtual tour includes all three zones of the aquarium, with the first covering local coasts and rockpool shallows and marine life that’s found slightly off the UK shore; the second exhibit houses the inhabitants of the Atlantic Ocean, where some of the aquarium’s biggest animals live – including the sharks; and the third region covers the tropical reefs – with familiar favourites Nemo and Dory.

Living in the UK, no one is ever further than 70 miles from sea, although these virtual guides and lessons mean distance is not an issue, with tours even available to international guests.

2021 sees the start of the UN Decade of the Ocean and the virtual tours are aimed to get the UK off to flying start.

The aquarium virtual tours are available daily between 3pm to 4pm

£79.99 for a personal hour tour of the Aquarium. 

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