Out-of-classroom lessons about marine life

Regina Wee interned with the education team at S.E.A. Aquarium, helping to facilitate education and outreach programmes. She writes below about one experience from her internship.  

S.E.A. Quest 2 is a guided learning trail for primary school students, one of the many age group-specific education programmes available at S.E.A. Aquarium tailored for students, from pre-school all the way up to pre-university.

As part of my internship with S.E.A. Aquarium, I got a chance to shadow an education trail facilitator and a group of students on the S.E.A. Quest 2 trail, and discovered how learning can be done out of the classroom – by seeing, listening, thinking and doing.

The programme takes students around the aquarium, led by the facilitator who shares bite-sized information about the species in each habitat. Students get to see the marine animals right in front of them and connect the facts with visual cues. Not only that, the facilitator gets them thinking too by asking open-ended questions.

S.E.A. Quest 2
“What is the difference between hard and soft corals?”
S.E.A. Quest 2
The facilitator asking the students if they knew what causes sea jellies to glow.

The highlight of the programme for me was when the group approached the Open Ocean Habitat. The students’ reactions were priceless. The awe as they stared at the manta rays and schools of fish through the floor-to-ceiling viewing panel is something that you will not find inside a classroom. It is probably something they will take away with them and remember for a long time.

S.E.A. Quest 2
Students were mesmerised by the sheer size and diversity of marine life of the Open Ocean Habitat.

Partway through the trail, the students were also given activity sheets to complete. These help them remember key facts from each habitat, while compiling the day’s findings together into one place. Plus, there’s the bonus of letting them rest their feet.

To further enrich their learning experience, the students also enjoyed hands-on interaction with marine life at the Discovery Touch Pool. Here, they got to touch and hold animals such as sea stars and sea cucumbers, learning how the live animals move and feel.

Throughout the programme, the students were encouraged to express their thoughts about the marine life they see, largely through the use of open-ended questions. These questions encourage responsive learning, as well as to stretch the students’ curiosity, reasoning ability and creativity.

These observations provide crucial points to note for future educators like myself.

For more about the S.E.A. Aquarium education programmes that you can sign up for, click here.

To learn more about partnership opportunities for students and educators, click here.

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