Elementary schools in Toledo, Siletz and Lincoln City will make way for marine science when the Oregon Coast Aquarium rolls into town on December 12-16.The Aquarium’s assembly-style outreach programs make coastal and ocean education accessible to kids who may not have an opportunity to explore the Oregon Coast with their families or during field trips.
“Ocean literacy isn’t generally included in Oregon’s statewide educational standards; only Lincoln County and Tillamook County schools have taken steps to incorporate it into their strategic plans. For a lot of students, this outreach may be the only ocean-oriented programming they’ll receive during the school year,” said Wendy Spaulding, Education Programs Coordinator at the Aquarium.
The Aquarium is deploying its outreach team across Oregon, Northern California, and Southern Washington for 21 weeks this academic school year to deliver marine science themed facts and fun to over 34,000 students. Programming options include four different outreach programs that focus on marine animal adaptations and are tailored to K-2 and 3-5 grades. The topics rotate so students see something different every year during the Aquarium’s annual visit.
The interactive presentations include recorded animal sounds or videos, and an opportunity to touch real biofacts. Students participate in their learning by donning costumes, comparing their own size to that of wild animals or singing along to learn animal anatomy and adaptations. The theme for the Lincoln County area this year is Sharks. Students will learn how sharks and their kin possess incredible adaptations to overcome the challenges of their underwater environment, from hydrodynamic “dermal dentricles” on their skin to ultra-keen senses, including electromagnetic receptors.
For more information about the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s education programs, call 541-867-3474 or visit aquarium.org/education.