The Vancouver Aquarium has always been strongly committed to education, but also believe that it isn’t just limited to students. Several times a year, educators from all over the Lower Mainland become students in our classrooms and get their hands dirty during the Aquarium’s Professional Development Workshops.
Colin Young, one of the accredited teaching staff who develops school programs at the Aquarium, says that whenever he had attended a Professional Development Workshop as a former educator, he was always the most satisfied when he had the opportunity to engage in a variety of different activities, and come away with a lot of resources that could be used in the classroom. “We work very hard to make sure teachers are excited about aquatic issues, and more importantly, that they have the tools they need to spark that excitement in their students as well,” Colin says.
Covering a wide range of topics, such as “Greening Your Classroom,” “Inquiry Approaches to Science,” and “Marine Biology 101 – Invertebrates,” this year’s workshops will get educators’ creative juices going as they run experiments with live animals (such as crabs and urchins), explore the galleries, and getting their feet wet with cross-curricular lessons tying marine conservation with other subjects like math.
One unique aspect of these workshops is that it provides students the opportunity to be educators, and to lead some of these workshops. In previous years, students even built a whale from scratch in the Aquarium’s Canada’s Arctic gallery. That’s right, they built a whale.
Colin says that when he was a teacher, the ”build-a-whale” project was a major highlight for him because it was taught almost entirely by high school students who had been teaching elementary kids as part of their work experience credits. “It was incredibly rewarding to see my students master their teaching skills so well that they were able to turn around and surprise practicing teachers with new knowledge and exciting ways to teach it. In that case, both the teachers and these young adults had a great learning experience that would be hard to get anywhere else.”
If you’re looking to try something new, and get your students excited about science in a whole new way, read more about our upcoming workshops and register soon here.