In the two-week period from January 21 through February 1, over 1000 students and teachers from 18 different primary schools around the island came to BIOS for the 2013 BIOS Explorer program. This year’s theme, “Expedition Sargasso,” focused on the biology, chemistry, and physics of the Sargasso Sea – the only sea in the world bounded by currents instead of land masses.
Using content produced during the 2012 summer Waterstart Program, BIOS educators developed a range of presentations about the Sargasso Sea. Kaitlin Baird, BIOS Science in Education Coordinator, created a “Prezi” (interactive online slideshow) that introduced viewers to the unique Sargasso ecosystem, and Andrew Kirkpatrick created a video about the threat of Ocean Acidification that is available on both the BIOS website and YouTube.
After the video, students and teachers rotated through a series of stations with hands-on activities designed to highlight specific aspects of Sargasso Sea science. Crowd favorites included seeing Sargasso animals (such as the Sargasso swimming crab) in tanks and under microscopes, as well as counting live sea monkeys as part of an ocean acidification experiment. Students were particularly fascinated by how much remains unknown about the Sargasso Sea and its namesake seaweed.
Teachers enjoyed watching their students’ excitement as they explored the stations and learned new ideas and concepts. One teacher noted that she liked “the fact that all of the information relates to the students and their own environment” and another appreciated “that the students who are a part of the research [at BIOS] are Bermudian.”
JP Skinner, BIOS Education Officer, and Kaitlin Baird did a fantastic job planning and coordinating the event, with multiple teachers commenting on their obvious passion and excitement for communicating science to students. Mr. Skinner and Ms. Baird both extend special thanks to all of the BIOS volunteers (especially the BIOS bus driver, Kenny Trott), as well as the Ministry of Education and the Department of Public Transport for helping to make the 2013 BIOS Explorer Program a success.