Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) festival

Earlier this year a team of five scientists, including British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) data scientist Matt Donnelly and oceanographers from the University of Liverpool, worked together to provide ocean sciences sessions to primary school children as part of a local Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) festival.
Volunteers mix salt and food colouring into a flow tank for a demonstration of density©
Held at the Ellesmere Port National Waterways Museum in Cheshire, around 60 children from a range of local schools had the opportunity to learn about
  • the concepts of water density and salinity, and how they relate to the Mersey Estuary and ocean circulation through the use of flow tanks, fizzy drinks cans and food colouring
  • the sizes, shapes and life of zooplankton through the use of microscopes
  • the important role of phytoplankton in the marine environment and way in which zooplankton graze on them
The sessions proved a success with the children who quickly grasped new concepts whilst getting hands on with the equipment. They asked a wide range of questions on the science, what we do with the information collected and working at sea.
It was a great opportunity to bring the fascinating world of oceanography 'into the classroom', and discuss the detailed work undertaken by BODC and researchers alike.
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