Creative ideas for teaching about Oceans

A piece in the Guardian Teacher Network that was published today.

It offers ideas from 3 teachers about how they teach about the oceans. Good to see that the work of my colleague Claire Kyndt and I, and our pupils at King's Ely, gets a mention.

You are what you eat project

Alan Parkinson, geography teacher at King’s Ely in Cambridgeshire, taught oceans as part of a year 7 unit. He introduced the “you are what you eat” project to teach about food issues and sustainable resourcing.
Students were introduced to the various methods used to catch fish and their effect on the environment. They constructed models of trawlers with string to visualise the impact on the sea floor, and investigated more sustainable alternatives, such as farming fish like sea bass and tilapia.
Using paper plates and cardboard cut-outs, the children made fish and chips dishes with messages written on them. Each fish explained why it was threatened, whether by overfishing or pollution, while the chips were labelled with ideas for helping the fish to survive, such as introducing no-catch zones.
Students were then asked to create an eco-friendly menu. They had to select three meals and, using their new knowledge, ensure each delicacy was sustainable, for example, using locally sourced ingredients and avoiding overfished species such as cod and haddock. They linked up with the food technology department, and some groups were allowed to cook their dishes.
The key idea of the unit is to show how human activity effects the environment. The unit also helps students develop their inquiry skills, using digital mapping to source and locate suppliers of fish.
Parkinson says the variety of different activities involved in this project went down well with students. “From making the menus, the students started to see how decisions we make on a daily basis have an impact on other people and other places. It helped them appreciate the understanding of sustainability, and explore ideas like seasonality, animal welfare and food miles.”