Online NZ-based learning platform Education Perfect (EP) has teamed up with non-for-profit Blue Penguin Smith Family to create online lessons for students in years 7-10 focused on ocean conservation. The lessons, known as Sustainable Oceans, will be free and available to students based in Australia and New Zealand.
Anna Redmile, Head of Partnerships for EP, explains the natural connection, “Blue Penguin are passionate supporters of ocean sustainability and marine life conservation – a topic we know our students care about deeply. This partnership enables us to help students on EP learn more about the issues and understand how they can personally make a difference, whilst also achieving curriculum outcomes. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The lessons introduce students to the beauty and variety of our underwater world, guiding them through the various marine habitats around Australia and New Zealand. They explore why healthy oceans are important to our ongoing health and prosperity as a nation. They then take deep dives into some of the most pressing challenges our oceans are facing, including rising ocean temperatures and sea levels, plastic pollution and habitat destruction.
For each of these issues, the lessons empower students with a plan of action they can implement in their own lives to limit their ecological footprint and care for our oceans.
“Healthy oceans are critical to our ongoing prosperity, yet our oceans are in decline. We’ve released 5.2 trillion pieces of plastic into the oceans and taken 90 per cent of the large fish out. Ocean warming due to greenhouse gas emissions threatens iconic treasures like the Great Barrier Reef, and has already decimated Tasmania’s kelp forests,” says Shane Smith of Blue Penguin.
“These are significant challenges and require urgent attention, but fortunately they’re also solvable and we can all contribute to fixing them. We want to empower students by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to make small changes in their own lives that will minimise their footprint on the oceans. Solving these issues will also require input from the government and big business, but we don’t need to wait for that. We can all start today and make small, easy changes which collectively will combine to make a big difference.”
Recent studies have confirmed that these are topical and important issues for students. One 2019 study by UNICEF found that 63 per cent of young people in Australia are highly concerned about the pollution of our oceans. The same study found that 75 per cent of people aged 14 to 17 want Australia to take more action on climate change.
The project will launch with 6 lessons available to students, and then 6 additional lessons will be released over the following few months. The lessons will be curriculum aligned to both Science and Geography, covering a broad range of learning outcomes while also raising awareness of sustainability.
These lessons will also save time for teachers with prebuilt resources from trusted experts in the industry, so they can confidently teach about sustainable oceans. Collaborative tools are implemented to help students engage with each other and come up with solutions collectively.
To further place the spotlight on Sustainable Oceans, EP is running the inaugural Sustainable Oceans Competitions, open to all Australian and New Zealand High Schools.
Teachers can enter their classes, as well as individual students who will participate, by answering questions from the first 6 lessons in the Sustainable Oceans series. This will run from 6th – 10th June to coincide with World Ocean Day.
The top 1000 performing schools will automatically go into a draw to win from a series of prizes, including Adopting a Manta Ray which provides a cash donation to help save this endangered species.
From anxiety to action through education, change can be made by empowering young people. By giving them the tools to help make a difference, Education Perfect’s Sustainable Oceans initiative is aiming to foster a solutions-based approach to climate change and ocean sustainability in young people.
Registration is now open and more information including registration details can be found here.
The competition is being drawn on 15th June at 1:30pm.