S.E.A.² Quest: experiential learning about marine life and conservation

SIT-Wheelock College students Ho Puay Ling and Finjie Koh interned with the education team at S.E.A. Aquarium, helping to facilitate education and outreach programmes. They write below about one of the education programmes called S.E.A.² Quest.

There’s no better way for children to learn than in an immersive environment filled with opportunities to get up-close with marine life. One such place is the S.E.A. Aquarium, with its range of marine life education programmes for all ages, from preschoolers to adults.

One of these programmes is the S.E.A.² Quest. Available in four versions for Kindergarten 1, Kindergarten 2, Primary School and Secondary School students, this 90-minute programme comprises a facilitated aquarium tour and activity sheets.

In the facilitated tour, an experienced guide will take you through different habitats, while sharing information about marine life. This can be about physical characteristics of fishes to how we can play our part in marine conservation. Along the way, the guide asks open-ended questions to get the students thinking.

In one tour, the guide spoke to secondary students about Bluefin Tuna and what is sustainable fishing. From this, we saw how it got the students thinking about food sources, how they can check for sustainable sources, and how doing this can help keep seafood on our tables far into the future.

“Do you think sea jellies look like plastic bags?”
“Do you think sea jellies look like plastic bags?”

Another guide shared with a group of young students how plastic bags look like sea jellies, one of the favourite food of sea turtles. She then asked them, “What do you think will happen to sea turtles if they mistakenly ate plastic bags?”, to let them think for themselves the consequences of our actions (or inaction).

“Look, a diver!”
“Look, a diver!”

Students are always thrilled to spot a diver in the tank. When that happens, the guide will use the opportunity to explain the different roles of the diver in the aquarium, from cleaning the habitats to caring for the fishes. If nothing else, it expands the students’ understanding of occupation opportunities available to them when they grow up.

S.E.A.² Quest
“Wow! So big! So many fishes!”

The highlight of the tour is the Open Ocean Habitat – the majestic view never fails to wow the students. As they take in the sights of reef manta rays, zebra sharks and hammerhead sharks swimming in front of their eyes, they’ll get to learn interesting information about each species from the guide.

This is also where the students will take a rest to complete their activity sheets, which are designed according to their age group.

The final leg of the tour is the Discovery Touch Pool where they get to touch marine creatures such as sea stars and sea cucumbers. Here, learning is enhanced through touch as students get to physically feel and better understand these marine creatures.

S.E.A.² Quest
“What do sea stars feel like? Are they hard or soft?”

Apart from S.E.A.² Quest, the Aquarium also offers other enriching educational programmes such as Marine Explorer Tour, Dolphin Tales, and Feeding Frenzy Trail. For more information about the educational programmes, please click here

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