7 Activities you can do with your students on World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day is an important date in our calendar. For all of us. In 2008, the United Nation General Assembly decided to make June 8th the official Oceans celebration date. Since then, millions of people organize events to raise awareness of issues faced by our oceans.
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This year, the theme is Our oceans, Our future.
Why is it important to talk about it in class?
Our pupils are like sponges. As a teacher, an educator, I feel it is my duty to teach them about the issues that our world, their world is facing. It is important indeed that they realize how vital our oceans are. That they realize that without them life would not be possible on our planet. It is essential to teach them good habits. There’s no need to live by the seaside to help, as we can all do something, wherever we are, to reduce oceans pollution.
World Oceans Day: 7 ideas to make the best out of it
In the classroom:
I usually ask my students to wear a blue T.shirt / shirt on June 8th.
A fun vocabulary activity
Word searches, crosswords, scrambled words. Have them learn the vocabulary related to marine life. It could be about fish and sea creatures. Or it could be about sea related jobs. Another idea would be to make them study the specific vocabulary needed on a boat. This is an activity that I highly recommend to families that are lucky enough to live on a boat. Usually both parents and kids will learn new words.
An environment awareness poster
Make them create environment awareness posters and put them up the walls around your school. They could go to other classes and explain their awareness campaign. Other kids could vote for the best campaign.
A more classic reading comprehension
This is definitely a classic approach. You can simply give your students a newspaper article to study along with some comprehension questions.
Outside the classroom:
A real hands-on sailing week-end and some snorkelling discovery
Why not organize a field trip to the seaside, with fun and pedagogical activities for your students. Snorkeling and the discovery of the marine world is a great activity kids usually love. Learning to sail is also a great idea.
A few years ago, one of my colleague and I took 2 of our classes to the seaside, in Malaysia. They learnt about the sea and the weather, they also learnt what not to do on the beach or at sea and finally they were taught how to sail an optimist. All this was done in English and in French. It was a wonderful experience for them and I hope they remember the environmental advice they got from the sailing teams.
Let’s clean the beach
You could also organise a Let’s clean the beach! day. It takes a little time to organise but it is so rewarding.
Back when we were living in Mauritania, a colleague of mine, Aurélia initiated this project in association with the Surfrider Foundation (www.surfrider.org) and the school I was working at. Local and international schools were also part of the project.
My little 8 year-old pupils worked for a whole morning, a whole afternoon or a complete day. It was an exhausting job, even for us – adults- and so much garbage was retrieved from such a tiny part of the Atlantic littoral.
A few examples of the trash that was collected that day were: dozens of massive fishing nets, hundreds of cans, tons of plastic bags. A very impressive loot. The local garbage company was there to help collecting the garbage in huge dumpsters, they gave us gloves and reusable trash bags.
The aquarium (No dolphins or killer whale shows!)
Finally, if you live in a city, and have no possibility to go on a field trip, surely there is an aquarium to visit. Whether you have a guide or not, you can create a worksheet that your pupils will complete as they go along.
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Oceanographer
I hope these ideas were useful! What about you, what are your plans on World Oceans Day?