I like the idea of making marine biology real to people who don't know about it, and suppose that's why it's good (though strange) that a little girl stroked my foot halfway through the presentation – she wanted to find out what the fabric felt like, and this gave her an opportunity to find out. We showed videos/photos of the Galapagos, made analogies about chocolate milk and how delicious seaweed is to urchins, and showed our reel of coolest underwater moments. Finally, we built model urchins "Poky" and "Spiky" (aptly named by audience members) out of styrofoam balls and coffee stirrers to demonstrate how hard these creatures can be to eat.
Our audience's energy was really refreshing. The children strained their hands towards the ceiling hoping to be called on, and made a big effort to link their own experiences to what we were presenting on. When we asked students what they most liked about the ocean, one boy tripped over his words giving a slow verbal rendition of a shark attack, and a girl proclaimed she liked "life." No arguments there. Other students were fans of manta rays, sea stars, and jumping in the waves.
We showed pictures of ourselves as children at the beach, aged five and two. It's important to drive home that we were once little too, and that if any of these children want to grow up and become marine biologists, it's possible. In particular, I want to make sure little girls see a career in science as a real possibility – regardless of whether they take that path in the end. Funny to think of myself then, and to wonder what these children will be up to by the time they're 23.
All in all, a successful morning, even if we did overheat a bit...
- Sofia Castello y Tickell