Ms. McNamara’s Grade 7 class at Tamarac Education Centre recently learned about a very tiny, but very important sea species called plankton. While Ms. McNamara was teaching her class about the oceans she realized they did not know what plankton was. Although they are some of the smallest creatures in the ocean, they feed the biggest fish and whales. That means the health of the entire ocean rests on these tiny organisms.
Rather than simply explain their importance to the students, Ms. McNamara had them do the research themselves. They opened up a ‘Plankton Museum’ in their classroom. Other classes came through and learned about the life cycle of plankton, and the impacts of climate change on plankton. Can you eat plankton? Students coming through the museum tried Spirulina smoothies. Spirulina cyanobacterium is a type of plankton, so yes, you can eat it! The students also wrote children's books about their new favourite species. They are in the process of turning one of these books into a movie to help others understand how important plankton are for our oceans.
To really make their voices heard, the class staged a ‘Plankton Protest’. They made posters and marched through the school shouting “Save plankton, save the oceans!” They stopped in each classroom to explain why plankton is important and how we can save them. The students not only learned about the habitat, food chain, and threats to a specific species but also learned a lesson in environmental activism. These students will likely remember this lesson for a long time.
The class submitted a photo essay about their experience with the Canada’s Coolest School Trip contest. They hope their entry will be chosen to win an all-expenses-paid class trip to visit different parks in Ontario. Public voting begins on March 5th, so check out this class’s and other school ’s creative entries.
Engagement Officer- Cape Breton