Marine Institute

Planet Aqua Interactive Science Exhibition Opens in Dublin

February 22, 2006

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, is hosting an exciting and educational showcase, Planet Aqua. Live seahorses, clownfish, starfish, dogfish, crabs and lobsters are among the main attractions, alongside a digital learning station to "Follow the Fleet", a series of costumes for interactive roll play, and many more exhibits. This non-profit Irish initiative will inspire primary school children into action to protect our planet's most valuable resource - water. Lord Mayor Cllr. Catherine Byrne & Eanna ní Lamhna, Environmentalist and Broadcaster, will officially launch the event on Wednesday, 22 February at 9.30am at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

The event opened its doors to school groups, Monday 20th February. The initiative, co-ordinated by AQUA TT - the Aquaculture Training and Technology organisation - consists of two pilot exhibitions, a teacher's manual and a website at www.planetaqua.ie . The exhibition is designed to stimulate young visitors to investigate the role of water on the planet through a virtual scientific "mission under sea", showing how we interact with water, how it benefits us and how life would be impossible without it. Equipped with "logbooks" and ponchos, school groups are divided into investigation teams to circulate 9 learning stations where mentors at each station explore the key ideas with groups. Online pre-registration is required for school groups and the registration facility can be accessed from www.planetaqua.ie.

There are a limited number of spaces still available. The event is open to the general public on the 25th & 26th from 10am to 4pm - admission is free and children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. The exhibition will close on 1 March. The many chilling global and regional aftermaths of the tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina and the resulting floods in New Orleans in 2005, have raised a host of questions about human impact on climate change and the aquatic environment. "With more than 7,500 kilometres of coastline, a seafood industry employing more than 15,000 people, the undertaking of a National Seabed Survey and the advent of the Water Framework Directive, to name just a few, the children of Ireland have good reason to learn more about water " said Mark Norman, Planet Aqua Steering Committee Chairman and Director of AquaTT.

Planet Aqua provides 5th and 6th class teachers with user-friendly support material that will enable them to explore and incorporate aquatic examples into the classroom. The resources and concepts are firmly grounded in the primary Social, Environmental and Scientific Education (SESE): Science curriculum. Planet Aqua is organised by the AQUATT organisation and supported by the European Union, Discover Science and Engineering, the Marine Institute, the National Centre for Technology and Education, BIM, the Primary Curriculum Support Programme, the National Centre for Curriculum Assessment, the EPA, the Central Fisheries Board, An Taisce, Irish Water Safety, Taidghe Mara Teo and the Lifetime Lab.

ENDS.