Education

Assemblies

Seagrass beds are an exciting and interesting habitat found in many sheltered estuaries and bays around the UK. Seagrasses are the only flowering plant that are able to survive completely submerged in the marine environment. They form huge meadows on the sea bed which are home to many commercially important and charismatic animals including seahorses.

Unfortunately these sensitive habitats are vulnerable to disturbance by coastal activities and pollution and many of them are in decline. It’s extremely important that these habitats are protected and that awareness raised about the potential impacts of these vital ecosystems disappearing.

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The Community Seagrass Initiative offers schools outreach free of charge. The CSI team can offer free 15- 20 minute interactive assemblies for key stage 2 and key stage 3 year groups between Looe and Weymouth. The assembly outlines the difference between seagrass and algae’s (seaweeds), food chains within seagrass habitat, threats placed upon seagrass habitat and the animals found living in it and what people can do to help preserve seagrass.

Mark Hancock, Head of Education Living Coasts Zoo, Torquay said:

“ The assemblies are a fun filled way of finding out about some amazing animals and habitats of our local seas”

A parent of a pupil from Preston Primary School, Paignton said:

“Our son took great pleasure and pride in explaining the reasons why it is important to protect the marine environment.  It was clear that he had really enjoyed this experience and he felt a real sense of pride that he was involved in making others aware of why such things are important.  We believe he learnt a great deal from this.”

If you’d like to find out more or book a free visit from one of the scientists working on the project please call Liz Cole on 01725 274211 with reference to the CSI assemblies. The CSI scientists are happy to visit schools within the catchment of the project between Looe and Weymouth.

Video Conferencing in the Classroom

If the assembly has excited the school group to know more about seagrass the CSI team can delivering a series of four interactive and engaging virtual lessons via a trusted and reliable video conferencing system. The series will link to the curriculum and cover topic such as:

  • Habitats and food chains
  • Adaptations to the environment
  • Classifying animals and endangered animals
  • Applications and implications of science in seagrass conservation.

These fun, hour long online lessons will be free of charge and timetabled to fit in around the school day. Below are the lesson plans and example activity sheets for the series.

Samantha Peacock, Year 4 teacher, Eggbuckland Vale Primary School, Plymouth said: 

“The children loved the online lessons on habitats and adaptations! They were meaningful, engaging and fitted into their learning well. The Learning and Discovery Team at the National Marine Aquarium were very supportive in setting us up for the sessions and provided us with some great resources. A big thank you from the Seahorses and Clownfish year 4 children and staff at Eggbuckland Vale Primary School.”

Please download lessons plans for teachers below…

If you’d like to find out more or book a free interactive lesson through video conferencing please call Liz Cole on 01725 274211 with reference to the CSI online lessons. Please view the schedule of planned lessons on the calendar.

Sometimes schools that we have visited, take it upon themselves to try and spread the word about seagrass conservation and help with fund raising. Three pupils from Starcross Primary School, Exeter, decided to have a bake sale to raise money for the Community Seagrass Initiative. See the full story here. It’s so encouraging to see how pupils are inspired to take the initiative and help with conservation in their own way! Rachel our Torbay project officer, visited the school to say thank you in person and congratulate them on their work with a certificate and selection box (it was Christmas after all!). Well done girls!IMG_2935 IMG_2936 IMG_3101