Students get up close with sharks

Rang 2 students, Ronan Costello and Lauren Sherlock with an Atlantic thornyhead and monkfish on the RV Celtic Explorer
Picture by: Andrew Downes, Xposure.

Rang 2 students, Ronan Costello and Lauren Sherlock with an Atlantic thornyhead and monkfish on the RV Celtic Explorer Picture by: Andrew Downes, Xposure.

Students from Rang 2, Scoil Shéamais Naofa, Bearna, got up close and personal with sharks on the RV Celtic Explorer as part of the Marine Institute’s outreach and engagement programme.

The students from Scoil Shéamais Naofa completed a new project module on sharks in Irish waters and had the oppourtunity to spend the day on the RV Celtic Explorer. Clár Ní Bhraonáin, teacher at Scoil Shéamais Naofa said it has been an amazing experience to be part of the Marine Institute’s Explorers programme.

“The students have had a marine scientist in the classroom and also got the opportunity to visit the vessel. Students don’t forget days like this.”

While on the RV Celtic Explorer, students met the captain and scientists and experienced the workings of a research vessel. Students spoke with Captain Denis Ronan about the Celtic Explorer to learn more about the silent ship that can stay out at sea for up to 35 days.

Outreach officer, Padraic Creedon of the Explorers Education Programme, said one of the unique elements of the Explorers Education programme is the content and support provided to teachers in the classroom in an easy and fun way.

“The students were inspired by the discovery of a rare shark nursery 200 miles off the west coast of Ireland in 2018, and we were delighted to create lessons, interactive experiments and discussion about the ocean, sharks and their environment for the class,” he said.

The students were excited to tour the research vessel and speak with marine scientists to discover more about shark species, seabed mapping, shipwrecks and the marine environment. Visiting the dry and wet labs, the students saw various different species ranging from a dogfish to a tope shark.

Dr Peter Heffernan CEO of the Marine Institute said the Explorers Education Programme is instrumental in engaging the next generation of marine enthusiasts, scientists and ocean champions.

“The programme aims to build on Ireland’s marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity. The Explorers Programme now reaches over 13,000 primary school students per year and provides training and support for teachers.

“The Explorers programme offers a range of materials to work with, including lesson plans to conduct experiments in class, watching film footage that helps generate discussion in class, and peer learning with the students,” he added.

For more information on the Explorers Education outreach centres visit the Explorers Contacts page at www.explorers.ie The programme is supported by the Marine Institute, and is funded under the Marine Research Programme by the Irish Government.

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