Over a week in the June school holidays, 51 Grade 8 learners took part in our Marine Science Discoverer course - a free opportunity to learn about marine biology and oceanography on the South African coast, made possible by the American International School of Cape Town's generous support of the Two Oceans Aquarium Education Foundation's programmes.
Here's what the kids thought of their week-long experience:
What was the course all about?
The Marine Discoverer Course ran for five days during the second week of the mid-year school holidays, 24 to 28 June, with 51 learners completing the course successfully.
Topics covered during the course were diverse - we delved into Southern African coastal ecosystems, basic geology, evolutionary mechanisms, classification of life and more - all with the aid of practical, hands-on lessons. By day five of the course, students were equipped with the knowledge they would need to carry out an investigation of the life inhabiting the different zones of the rocky shore at Mouille Point Beach. Working in small groups, learners would report to their class about their findings.
On the first day of the course, the learners completed a pre-course questionnaire, about basic ocean science concepts that would be taught throughout the week. The same questionnaire was written at the end of the week, a way for our educators to gauge the success of the course by the knowledge retained - we saw a 44% improvement over the span of the course this year!
We would like to thank our amazing education team and volunteers for the work put into making this course the success it was and helping shape another generation of young ocean scientists! Once again, this course would not be possible without our generous sponsors, the American International School of Cape Town - thank you!
"Just a short note of gratitude, and to say thank you very much. This was totally a first for me, a first in a class setup and may I say it was great to meet new students every day, in the process of moving us daily to new seating; a first in writing tests on a daily basis and my nerves were shot. But may I add I enjoyed every minute of it. I observed learned a lot. The teachers were great and very supportive and interactive. Thank you all." - Jessie, learner
"Thank you for a fantastic week! Alet-Mari still can’t tell me enough. Please thank your staff from the bottoms of our hearts for their time and effort - no money on earth can buy the joy she got from her time there, I appreciate it tremendously. She vowed to study hard because she is definitely going back in 2020. I sent a rather nervous girl there and I got a grown-up girl back that’s able to stand on her own two feet far away from home. She made friends that will last her a lifetime... they are already making plans for two girls to visit us in December!" - Janine, parent
"Thank you for the opportunity that was given to Chuma, he really enjoyed the week he spent with his facilitators and meeting new friends, he can’t stop talking about how fascinating marine life is." - Nicky, parent
Ocean education for your kids
There are many ways your children can get involved in environmental education opportunities at the Aquarium. Here are a few of the most popular options:
- School classes, youth groups and other organisations can book a classroom visit that fits in with your curriculum:
- Pre-school: A wide range of interactive Puppet Stories, from I Love Turtles to a Water Cycle Adventure.
- Grade 1-3: Discover underwater wonders and learn about different kinds of fish.
- Grade 4-6: Fun lessons with topics from fish anatomy and marine conservation to the close relatives of sharks.
- Grade 7-9: Lessons from water conservation to rocky shore ecology.
- Grade 10-12: Exciting topics from sharks and ecotourism to biodiversity and anatomy.
- Individual children of all ages can take part in FREE courses from our Marine Science Academy:
- Grade 6: Become Junior Biologists and study marine life and conservation on our coast.
- Grade 7: Learn Smart Living and learn how our lives and the environment interact
- Grade 8: Become a Marine Science Discoverer if you're in Grade 8 and learn about careers in ocean science.
- Grade 9: Become Marine Science Explorers - time to get hands-on with ocean life.
- Grade 10: Apply for our flagship Young Biologist course, and jumpstart a marine career.
- Grade 11 & 12: FET Zoology and Oceanography courses - a stepping stone into marine science tertiary studies.
- If you can't get to the Aquarium, we'll come to you!
- A fully equipped mobile aquarium, Oceans in Motion, is on the road - bringing the ocean's wonders and lessons to previously disadvantages schools in the Cape Town area.
- The Smart Living outreach programme engages with learners on key environmental issues such as energy, water, waste and protecting biodiversity.
If you would like to make a booking for your class, get involved in one of the above courses or are an adult looking for training opportunities or to take part in our job shadowing programme, please visit our Environmental Education Centre portal for more information and the relevant contact details.