20 June 2014

Feedback on the Smart Living course

Katja Rockstroh

This May saw the second round of our Smart Living course, which we first offered in 2013.

Generously sponsored by the City of Cape Town this year, we had 36 children take part in the first of two courses. The second course will take place in the July school holidays.

Most of our courses concentrate on educating children about marine life and the oceans. This course is different, as it uses the City of Cape Town’s four pillars as the main themes: biodiversity, water, waste and energy.

The course ran over four consecutive Saturdays (17, 24 and 31 May, and 7 June) and was attended by Grade 7 students from all over Cape Town. While the content is not necessarily marine-related, the importance of learning about the four themes greatly aids in our mission to foster a love and understanding of our oceans, to inspire action for their future wellbeing.

Day one was dedicated to biodiversity, which entailed learning the meaning of biodiversity in both the floral and animal kingdoms as well as amongst us, the broader human community. Endangered species were also highlighted, and the fact that the Two Oceans Aquarium is home to quite a few animals that are threatened through human activities.

The students were taken to the Green Point Eco Park next to the stadium, to learn more about the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
In our upper discovery centre, the Grade 7s used different types of sweets to discuss the concept of biodiversity by looking at different shapes, colours and sizes.

The theme of the second day was water. Students learnt about the importance of water, how much of the earth is in fact water and, most importantly, water conservation.

The water life cycle was studied to make the students understand where water comes from, and how it is recycled in nature.
Water has three different forms, which were explored during one of the activities.

The third day of the course tackled the theme of waste. Firstly, waste was defined and separated into organic and inorganic waste. Each of the inorganic waste types were investigated, such as glass, tins and plastic. Following this exercise, the students learned about waste minimisation and carbon footprints. Each student was tasked to collect all waste generated at home for the next week. This was then brought to the course on the last day and weighed, to see the amount of waste produced by an average household on a weekly basis.

The last day was energy day. Energy can be a tricky concept, which meant that the basics of what energy is were explained first, after which natural sources of energy were investigated. We also introduced the different energy sources that South Africa uses in order to power households and businesses.

The students chatted to Andy le May of eWizz about his electrical scooters and the benefits of an electrical vehicle.
Russell Stevens, our Head of Education, generated energy with a bicycle wheel.

Above all, the conservation of our biodiversity, water resources and energy, as well as the minimisation of waste, is the ultimate message that we wanted the students to take home. Once these messages are absorbed by our children and implemented in their daily lives, we are one step closer to a more sustainable lifestyle that protects both us and our environment.

Thank you to the City of Cape Town for its generous sponsorship.

Find our more about upcoming educational courses here.

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