Thursday, October 27, 2011

Professional Development at BIOS

On October 24th and 25th fifty-eight primary, middle and secondary school teachers splashed into BIOS for the annual Professional Development program in partnership with the Bermuda Union of Teachers. This year’s topic was “Tools and Techniques of Ocean Exploration”.

The day revolved around looking at some of the tools that scientists use to better understand and explore our oceans. The morning kicked off with keynote speaker, marine archeologist Piotr Bojakowski. Piotr spoke about the Warwick wreck of 1619 located in Castle Habor and its importance in Bermuda’s cultural history, as well as the role of marine archaeologists in understanding shipwrecks and their artifacts. Elena Strong capped off the talk with ways to get Bermuda teachers involved at the National Museum of Bermuda and their upcoming exhibit “Shipwreck Island”.

Next on the agenda were some hands on fun activities. These activities ranged from becoming a marine archaeologist putting artifacts together, to putting on a mask and learning percentages with Bermudian coral reefs. The teachers did so with some excellent questions and lots of enthusiasm! The morning closed with some “Science of Scuba” and teachers learned how SCUBA is a great way to explain Archimedes’ Principle, density, buoyancy, volume and pressure. The teachers got a chance to get wet and raise some treasure off the bottom of their mini ocean aquaria and even create a neoprene diver that was neutrally buoyant.

Using Archimedes' Principle to float a fishing weight; JP Skinner explaining how Archimedes' Principle is used in SCUBA diving; Measuring the displacement of a fishing weight.

After lunch the BIOS education officer, JP Skinner, demonstrated how they could make their very own R.O.V. (or Remotely Operated Vehicle). The teachers rounded off their day with a voyage on the Research Vessel Henry M. Stommel; while some of them enjoyed snorkeling at Whalebone and Paget Island Bay, the rest helped BIOS diver Dean Lea rescue some real “treasure” off the bottom of the ocean using nothing but some air and a plastic bucket!

JP Skinner welcomes the teachers to the R/V Henry M. Stommel; Getting ready for a dip in Whale Bone Bay; Dean Lea wearing a full face mask underwater communication unit.

All of our lesson plans, supporting materials and detailed explanations for this year's topic of “Tools and Techniques of Ocean Exploration” can be found here. Thanks to all who participated in making the 2011 Teacher Professional Development a big success!