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Ocean First Education brings the sea to life through high-quality, innovative marine science education and creates lifelong students and stewards of the sea.
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Back to School

It’s about that time. For me, it was when the bicycles went back into the barn, rather than just by the side of the house, backyard camping adventures came to an end, and curfews began in earnest - at first, even before the sun went down! Yes, it’s that time of year again. It’s back to school time.

Excitement is high, new classes are beginning and with them new friendships, new routines, and new subjects to cover. But are they, really?

Change things up this year with a splash of marine science. Start your lesson on creative writing with the Camouflage Explorer Series. Can you describe camouflage without adjectives? Break up your physical science routine with a 360 Lesson Plan and video depicting balanced and unbalanced forces. Take your students on a week-long 360 Virtual Field Trip through the Grand Canyon and let them explore the geological events of the past and how those changes have impacted the ecology and landscape today. Use the mystery of the ocean to motivate your students this year and encourage their curiosity.

Break from the norm and introduce your students to The Truth About Sharks. Perhaps one of the most misunderstood animals on the planet, sharks play a similar role in the marine ecosystem as wolves, bears, and mountain lions do on land. Introduce biological, ecological, and environmental concepts through the lens of the ocean and give your students access to the other 72% of this planet. Interested in diving into the deep end? Marine Science 101 is our high school science elective, for students interested in learning more about the biology, ecology, and physics of the ocean and how it impacts our life on Earth. 

Yes, it’s that time of year again, but it doesn’t have to be the same as last year. Refresh your reading, language arts, and science scope and sequence with a touch of marine science.

In the News
Shark Week!

Did you, or do you plan to, head to the beach this summer? If so, know that you’re sharing the water with one of the ocean’s apex predators, sharks, but don’t worry, you’re not on the menu. In fact, for most species of sharks, we’re too energy cost effective to even consider eating! So why all the buzz, fascination, and even fear? Well, sharks, all 440 different species, are fascinating and mysterious creatures. We really don’t know much about any of them, at least not the way we do lions, wolves, bears, and other terrestrial predators.

Enter, Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. A week that brings with it the exciting, the educational, and the wildly sensational. With titles like, “Expedition Unknown: Megalodon” and “Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe” it’s no wonder that many of us sit glued to our televisions for a week of tantalizing, shark-themed entertainment. It’s exciting to follow a group of scientists on their journey as they search for what’s believed to be an extinct species of shark. It’s nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat television when divers and videographers recreate a lost-at-sea scenario and make it out alive using a variety of shark-repelling techniques. We enjoy watching a group of celebrities jump feet-first into “shark infested” waters and make it out alive and unscathed. It is all highly entertaining - seemingly endless swarms of sharks engaged in a feeding frenzy, surrounding divers, mouths agape, teeth shimmering in the light.

In truth, shark populations world-wide are in decline due to overfishing and habitat loss. While you might see large groups of sharks in a single shot in one of Discovery’s programs, don’t be fooled into believing that all is well in the world of sharks. Throughout the 20th century, increasing human-shark interactions lead to the public perception that sharks are dangerous to people, resulting in the near eradication of some coastal shark species through hunting. Since it’s peak in 2003, the harvesting of all cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, skates, etc.) has declined by almost 20%. Research shows this is not likely due to conservation and sustainable fishing efforts, but rather due to the global decline of all shark species.

As you watch Shark Week, remember that the star of the show needs your compassion and, in many cases, your help. What can you do?

  • Don’t use products made from sharks. This includes consuming shark meat, as well as avoiding cosmetics that use squalene, a compound derived from shark livers. 
  • Reduce your overall consumption of seafood. This will reduce the opportunities for sharks to be caught and killed as bycatch. 
  • Ask about the seafood you do consume. Ask your local fishmonger or favorite restaurant where and how your seafood was caught. 
  • Keep your Seafood Guide app updated!
  • Reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost. Keep your trash out of the ocean. 
  • Donate your money and time to shark conservation and research efforts. A personal favorite of ours is Beneath the Waves. Tell them Ocean First Education sent you! 
  • Educate yourself and share what you know with others. Check out our short course, The Truth About Sharks. If you’re a scuba diver, check out the SSI specialty, Shark Ecology

Sharks need you to be educated about their importance in the marine ecosystem to keep them from becoming part of the History Channel’s Shark Week.

Ocean View
Summer Recharge

Summer is a time for teachers and students alike to recharge and prepare for the coming year. We’ve asked long-time teacher, NASA aficionado, backyard gardener, and STEM advocate, Linda Petuch, to share some of her favorite classroom motivators.

Teaching students the proper use of science tools is important. I was a stickler for the language students used when describing observations, enhanced by magnifiers, especially. Objects that are magnified “appear” to be or get larger; they do not actually change size. It is important that when they share their observations, they are describing what is really happening or the science is incorrect. The earlier they learn this, the better, in my opinion.

Read more from Linda in her four-part blog series dedicated to enriching student learning.

1 Topic : 5 Facts
How well do you know the ocean?
This regular feature will help acquaint you with our blue planet.
Topic: Sharks
Events and Announcements
Coming Soon!

The Manta and Ray Ecology short course is now available. Learn more about these flattened cousins of sharks, today!

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