We are Students Engaged in Aquatic Sciences, better known as SEAS. We are a very active group of marine science undergraduate students at the University of South Carolina. Within the greater community, we participate in several service projects such as Clean Carolina and River Sweep and various education outreach opportunities. We have often served as science fair judges, volunteered with after-school programs and visited schools in the Columbia area during Science Days, to assist with laboratories in marine science, and for in class presentations.
As the education outreach coordinator for the upcoming academic year, I would like to share with you the programs we have available for your school. We can adapt our programs for any age level from kindergarten to adult education courses and welcome the input of teachers to better shape the programs for specific classroom needs. Our programs can be used in accordance with the South Carolina Science Standards for all grades in units such as: characteristics of organisms (K-2), animals (2-2), habitats and adaptations (3-2), organisms and their environment (4-2), ecosystems (5-2), landforms and oceans (5-3), structures, processes and responses of animals (6-3), ecology (7-4), Earth’s biological history (8-2) and high school biology curriculum (B-3, B-5, B-6).
We offer a variety of programs that can be used in combination with each other or can stand-alone. We often begin each program with a short introduction to marine science. All of our programs can be changed to coordinate with educators’ schedules and interests. We have presented at various education conferences local to the Columbia area, such as ShareFair and the USC Children’s STEM Fair. A short description of our lesson plans follows:
Marine Biology & Taxonomy (any age group):
To discuss marine biology, we have a collection of dried specimens showing a variety of sea creatures (horseshoe crabs, whelk egg cases, sand dollars, sea biscuits, various bivalves) that the students can also hold and touch. The lesson is structured to show the evolution of ocean life through discussing the taxonomy of ocean phyla, and discussing the creatures representative of each phyla. We also can bring a touch tank with live sea creatures to compliment the lesson. The touch tank contains a variety of marine invertebrates (varies each year) that students are allowed to touch and hold (depending on age and willingness). Through the specimens and touch tank, we aim to make marine biology as engaging and interactive as possible. We also offer smaller, more focused lessons on biology for turtles and sharks (see below).
Sea Turtle Conservation (any age group):
Focusing on the conservation of the endangered sea turtles, we speak about their life histories, differences between species and discuss the threats they are facing. We also offer ideas of how students can help sea turtles.
Sharks (any age group):
The shark program focuses on better understanding sharks and encouraging appreciation of the animals instead of fear. We focus on shark life histories; variations between species, roles in the ecosystem and can also touch on the truth behind shark attacks (age appropriate).
New Lesson Plans In Progress:
Climate Change (secondary school and up):
This lesson aims to broaden our reach to middle and high school level students. Climate change is one of the most important issues in the geosciences today. We talk about the scientific consensus behind climate change and the science behind it. We discuss how the oceans in particular are affected by climate change, and how this can impact the students.
Climate Ethics (high school and up only):
This lesson aims to move beyond simply the science behind climate change and more into the implications to society. Does climate change impact poor countries disproportionately? Do developed nations have any obligations as a result of polluting the environment? Who is responsible for massive trash piles in the oceans? These considerations and more are discussed for a mature audience. This lesson plan incorporates science, economics, and ethical theory. We aim to provide real world examples of how these areas intersect and what that means for various stakeholders.
Aquaponics (any age group):
Aquaponics is a sustainable farming method, combining aquaculture (growing fish in confinement) with hydroponics (growing plants with no soils). We will bring a functioning aquaponics system for students to interact with and discuss. Aquaponics doubles the food production with only half the water usage. How does this occur? What makes it work? We can even give students or teachers ideas for how to build an aquaponics system as a home or class project!
We are very amenable to suggestions and requests for other marine science focused programs. Lesson plans are available upon request. If you have any questions or would like to schedule us to visit your school, please feel free to contact us.
Thank you for your time and we hope to see you soon!
To schedule an Outreach Event; please contact one of our SEAS Education Outreach Coordinators