On May 1st and 2nd, Ocean Networks Canada’s Learning & Engagement Team coordinated and hosted the 3rd Annual Ocean Science Symposium at the University of Victoria (UVic) for students and teachers in grades 8-10. Approximately 40 students and 15 teachers with a keen interest in ocean science travelled from across Vancouver Island, from Northern BC (Prince Rupert) and with support from the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, from the Arctic (Cambridge Bay) to attend this unique event.
The symposium provides students and teachers an opportunity to explore the diverse field of ocean science through lectures and hands-on activities. Students interact with graduate students and researchers to inspire them about future studies and career opportunities within the marine science and technology sector. Furthermore, the symposium showcases novel research occurring on campus and highlights interactive ways for teachers to incorporate core ocean-related concepts in the classroom.
During the two-day event students and teachers were introduced to ONC’s real-time data; explored the deep sea through video footage from ONC’s cabled observatories; investigated seaweed cells with compound microscopes; competed in a marine engineering design challenge; participated in lively discussions around the impacts of ocean acidification on Indigenous coastal communities; recreated ocean currents in density tanks and immersed themselves in sounds from the sea.
This year’s symposium featured the ONC’s newest educational program Ocean Sense. The program’s theme, “Local observations. Global connections” encourages participants to explore their connections to the ocean, both personal and scientific. Ocean Sense is currently being piloted by two schools – Brentwood College School in Mill Bay and Kiilinik High School in Cambridge Bay - each with access to a community observatory. Ocean Sense includes a variety of resources such as instrument overviews, lesson plans, and real time data in easily accessible web pages. The program provides students with an opportunity to observe their local environment and then gain a global perspective by connecting and sharing knowledge with students from other regions. The annual Ocean Science Symposium will be a face-to-face event where students and teachers can network, share their findings and gain a deeper understanding of the ocean and its many mysteries.
Over the next year, four additional community observatories will be deployed at locations on Vancouver Island and in Northern BC. Both schools in communities with and without a community observatory can participate!
Students and teachers at the 3rd Annual Ocean Science Symposium enjoyed the event and are excited for the opportunity to bring more marine science into the classroom. If you are a teacher with a passion for the ocean, keep an eye out for upcoming professional development opportunities and invitations to next year’s symposium!
Testimonials from students:
- I really learned a lot more about the ocean from different perspectives! It was amazing!
- I loved it! It was really interesting and I learned so much more about the ocean, the earth and what we’re doing.
- The most meaningful activity for me was the ocean acidification activity because it reminded me how important it is for us to take action to protect our ocean.
- I loved being with like-minded kids and learning more about what I love. Thank you for the great learning experience.