This evening Upton Middle School students are connecting to the ReefHQ in Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
We started by the students taking a deep breath to go diving. The diver explained how his mic & breathing system works. Then he gave the students a tour of the reef, showing and explaining the coral reef. He showed different corals and asked the students to guess the name of the coral (brain coral, honeycomb coral, etc.)
The excitement in the room was palpable. All of us were exclaiming to each other how cool this is! A custodian walking by came in to watch for a while.
We laughed at a sea cucumber that breathes through it’s bottom. We learned about creatures living on the sand, and more in the lagoon. During the tour, we asked a few questions too. We were able to watch a starfish retract it’s stomach too.
Next the diver switched over to the shark tank. During the switch, Julie, the reef guide, asked the students questions to review what they had learned so far. We found out that the coral reef exhibit is 37 m long and 4.5 m deep and holds 2.5 million liters. The shark holds about 750,000 liters. We chatted about the movie Finding Nemo and how it corresponds to real life.
It was great to watch the diver swim with the sharks and get close up views of the different types of sharks in their predator tank. We met so many different sharks and fish, including one that likes to nibble the camera.
The students thought the video was incredibly good (we connected at 384 K at H.264). A green sea turtle enjoyed a scratching on its back and came to say hello.
This was a great experience, and I’m sure we’ll be doing it for an after school evening activity again!