How do you immerse students in the ocean? Start with the classroom environment, of course!
As a Marine Biology teacher, there is so much to immerse the students in throughout the school year’s curriculum! But to give them an immediate and ongoing feel of visiting the ocean everyday, I decided to transform the classroom into an ocean oasis.
When a new wing in the school was built, and I was assigned to a new classroom, I took it as a chance to make this transformation happen! (My old classroom was quite the spectacle with window murals, huge animal replicas [student projects], and a kelp forest corner, but this plan would be even more over the top.)
I enlisted my students in the design of the ocean oasis — and that in itself was an incredible show of their learning. Ideas flew, sketches were drawn, and the ultimate melting pot of ideas gave rise to a design beyond my wildest dreams.
With the principal on board with our design, an interactive classroom was born!
We first painted the walls a soothing light aqua, along with a “stone” spray paint for the sand:
While the mural on the wall fools the students that it’s painted, it’s a collection of individual wall decals!
The cubby shelves were a great chance to act as extra storage for specimens, while making them more visible to students too:
It’s amazing how the ocean atmosphere gets students curious and engaged before a single lesson begins It draws out interest and curiosity of even the shiest students. And isn’t curiosity what science is all about?