Bringing the Ocean into the Classroom

DCU – St Patricks Campus and the Marine Institute run pilot marine classes for student teachers_Copyright Marine Institute

Dublin City University - St. Patrick's Campus and the Marine Institute ran a pilot marine module ‘Environmental Systems: The Marine Environment’ with over forty student teachers this week giving them an opportunity to learn about teaching marine science and Ireland’s marine heritage.

Dr Peter Heffernan, CEO of the Marine Institute welcomed the collaboration with Dublin City University - St. Patrick's Campus to introduce themes relating to the marine environment into the science module. “We recognise the unique position teachers have to help students develop an understanding of our amazing ocean resources. We hope these teachers will inspire curiosity among their students to learn more about the ocean and to develop an understanding of how we influence the ocean and how the ocean influences us.”

With a focus on having a “Marine Day” on the 20th April in the college and the wider university, the oceans, seas and shorelines around Ireland present many opportunities to introdu
ce marine themes into a range of cross curricular lessons,” explained Dr Thomas McCloughlin – Lecturer and Lab Manager of Science at DCU - St Patricks Campus.

The Marine Institute, Ireland’s national agency responsible for marine research and development, have provided a saltwater aquarium as well as a tidal tank for the modules showing how bringing the seashore to the class provides an exciting way to learn about marine animals typically found on the seashore. The programme was delivered to over forty second and third year student teachers and included a fieldtrip to the seashore and a range of interactive presentations in class.

Dr Noirin Burke, Galway Atlantaquaria, Dr Thomas McCloughlin, St Patricks - DCU and Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Marine Institute at the pilot marine training for student teachers_Image courtesy of the Marine Institute

“Student teachers get to explore the seashore through field-trips as well as analysing specimens through examination and dissection in class. This allows them to integrate examining the biological themes of the marine as well as introducing social, physical-human and geographical influences relating to understanding and ocean resource,” said Dr Noirin Burke, Galway Atlantaquaria, representing the Marine Institute’s primary school Explorers Education Programme. 

Ireland has a seabed territory of approximately 880,000km sq., which is ten times greater than the size of the island of Ireland and therefore one of the largest maritime States of the European Union. “Therefore, with Ireland being responsible for such a significant ocean resource, it is considered fundamental to teach Irish children, particularly as we are an Island nation, the historical and cultural values as well as the geographical and scientific backgrounds of our marine environment,” said Cushla Dromgool-Regan, responsible for the strategic development of education, Marine Institute.

The pilot is supported by the Marine Institute and the Explorers Education Programme which 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 pilot was supported by Explorer Education Centres, Galway Atlantaquaria, Blackrock Education Centre and Sealife – Bray Aquarium. For more information about the Explorers Education Programme™ see