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Feedback: Junior Biologist Course

Junior biologists learning about good data collection techniques Junior biologists learning about good data collection techniques

The Junior Biologist Winter Course, which took place from 27 to 29 June and 4 to 6 July 2011, was a success with 19 students attending the June course and 26 students attending in July.

The course, run by Two Oceans Aquarium teacher Khonzani Lembeni, was well received and we had a great turnout of children from all over Cape Town.

Day one’s theme revolved around the concept of “two oceans” and the diversity of fish species. Group activities included the identification and observation of a fish of the children’s choice at the Aquarium, and to draw and write down three or four interesting facts about it.

Another group activity was a data collection lesson to teach children scientific investigation skills as well as about fishing regulations.

On day two, the children were introduced to the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and marine invertebrates.

The SASSI lesson taught the children about sustainable fisheries, by-catch as well as the effects of habitat destruction.

For the marine invertebrates lesson, kelp holdfasts were provided – these are home to hundreds of different species of small marine creatures. With the aid of a microscope, the children learned about these amazing creatures first hand.

Zuki, our African penguin ambassador, comes to say hello to the budding marine biologists Zuki, our African penguin ambassador, comes to say hello to the budding marine biologists

Besides investigative skills, we also put the learners’ creative skills into action by letting them paint a fabric bag, which they could take home with them on the last day, encouraging them to use re-usable bags rather than buying new plastic bags every time.

On the last day, teacher Khonzani Lembeni talked about animals that depend on the ocean, whether they live in it or live in it during only a part of their lifecycle.

Zuki, our African penguin ambassador, made an appearance, so creating awareness about this very special bird on our coast.

The programme ended with an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium, showing the children some of the inner workings of the Two Oceans Aquarium.

If you missed out on this course or know of children in grades 4 to 6 that would like to take part, contact education@aquarium.co.za for the next course’s dates.