Marine science is a topic that is very accessible for elementary students who live near the coast. There it happens most naturally, as children head out to play on the beach, find shells, and experiment by building castles and channeling the incoming tide. If you don’t live in a coastal area, getting involved in marine science can be a bit more challenging.
For the child or the family who is fascinated by marine science but lives far away from the ocean, try a family visit or a summer camp that focuses on marine ecosystems. Choose between family camps and overnight camps for kids. There are family camps at the Marine Science Consortium in Virginia. Briarwood Marine Science Camp in Monument Beach, Massachusetts, is a one week summer camp for children.
Borrowing marine science artifacts allows children to explore these ecosystems at home. The Los Angeles Natural History Museum offers Teaching Trunks with 3 to 6 science and social studies artifacts. These boxes are free on loan to members and can be checked out for two weeks. It is possible to borrow fish and marine science items. At the Oregon State University, the Coos County Extension Service offers educational box programs called Borrow Boxes. These Borrow Boxes include a Beach Explorations Borrow Box. The Hatfield Marine Science Center offers C-More education kits that teachers can borrow, and these kits are focused on the smaller animals and plants and chemical properties of the oceans.
There are a host of marine science programs that can be used as homeschool marine science programs for elementary students around the world, as long as these children have Internet access. The Marine Biology Education Center has educational information about coral reef ecology and tropical fish. At the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, explore over a hundred pages of information related to cold water marine environments – even Antarctica! National Geographic’s Blue Frontier program has entire teacher packages that you can download. Explore underwater sounds in the Discovery of Sound in the Sea web site. Ridge 2000 has information about deep ocean ridge environments that is suitable for older elementary school students. For every marine environment, there are dozens of educational web sites that offer amazing glimpses into the sights, sounds, and research about marine ecosystems.
Image Credit: Meiteng