Diving into the deep blue
Inspired by the National Science Week theme “Deep Blue: innovation for the future of our oceans” in 2020, the children in the pre-school class set off on a learning journey into understanding ocean habitats. The project started by exploring the different parts of the ocean and learning about how deep the water is and marine life in the ocean. An initial brainstorming session also helped the teachers understand the children’s prior knowledge so they could challenge their current understanding and provide learning opportunities.
Through a variety of investigations, the children explored the impact of pollution on marine life. Discussions around this topic revealed that the children are developing an understanding of the impact human actions have on the oceans.
During group time, a teacher asked the children, “Do you think the ocean is happy or sad?” and they all responded, “sad!” Then they explained why they thought the ocean was sad:
- “The ocean is getting hotter because we are doing bad things to the ocean. The coral is starting to die.”
- “The people are throwing rubbish in the ocean and the fish are eating it.”
- “The fish are eating the rubbish and we are catching too many fish.”
- “The turtles get stuck in the rubbish.”
- “The ice is melting.”
Robots to the rescue
Fuelled by their desire to help the oceans, the children explored different innovation ideas to protect oceans and animals. They used parts of old computers donated by families to create robots and machines to help protect marine life. Their design ideas to help the ocean were:
- a robot vacuum that travels to the bottom of the ocean and sucks up the rubbish
- a transformer robot that saves the fish from fishermen
- a robot that picks up rubbish from the ocean and puts it in a bin
- a robot that saves the coral from dying so the fish have a home
- a robot that has an ice gun to stop the icebergs melting
- a robot that saves the ice
The project also incorporated a range of experiences: the children investigated floating and sinking after discussing their hypotheses, they investigated the impact of salt and heat on ice, explored buoyancy and more. The teachers enjoyed observing how the children reflected on their learning about the ocean and how their social thinking developed when learning about the impact of the pollution on the environment.