Everyone makes New Year resolutions. I wanted to make an ‘End of the Year resolution’ and actually do it, with the quickly approaching deadline as a motivation. I have set up to visit at least one of all the types of schools in a Polish education system, to talk about the oceans and share with the students some of what I have learned at the University. I managed to visit a pre-school, primary school, a ‘gymnasium’ (secondary school) and a high school. It was an intense, but also a very gratifying experience. I had to adjust the content and plan each lesson individually, to account for different age groups. I borrowed some interesting marine specimens and carried all of them across the city, going from school to school. People did actually look at me funny on the bus when I came in with a massive giant clam shell or something equally weird and heavy.
I went to the British International School in Gdansk and run an art workshop where we created ‘Oceans in Jars’. After a brief talk and an introduction to what marine biology is and why divers are so useful in exploring the oceans, each kid created their own jar by putting sand, stones, shells and sand dollars into it. They made little starfish from clay and stuck them on the inner side of of the glass. Then there were foam fish and even spring onion kelp! Sourcing all the necessary stuff the night before and travelling with 16 large glass jars without a car was a challenge, but it surely was an awesome day.
The lessons in a secondary school and the No 1 High School in Gdansk were structured more like lectures, but I did once again bring all the shells and corals to show what sort of creatures live on the coral reefs. I also talked about ocean exploration, the deep-seas and the bioluminescence. Everyone asked so many questions that I guess I haven’t bored them to death. If I inspired at least one person to read more about the oceans, go out and explore and perhaps even consider a career of a marine scientist – it surely has been a huge success.