School of Engineering


Inspiring Seas: Oceans of teaching resources


Rationale & Project Descriptor: Britain is surrounded by the sea, and every one of us relies on thriving maritime trade links for products we use on a day-to-day basis. The oceans themselves play a key role in regulating environmental change, such as climate, and are a valuable resource that provide sustenance, medicines and even cosmetic products to the worlds markets. This demonstrates a socio-economic, as well as environmental need to expand our knowledge of a relatively unknown environment. Despite this importance, young people are seldom taught about the value of our marine environment and associated shipping industry in schools, despite its rich potential to be used as a ‘model’ framework for the practical applications of much of the school’s National Curriculum.

Aim: This project essentially constitutes a Key Stage 3 National Curriculum enrichment and enhancement project. It aims to integrate both an appreciation for the maritime industry to the daily lives of members of society, and an enhanced awareness of marine environmental processes and their importance in the face of increasing concerns for global sustainability.

Expected Outcomes: The key outcomes of this project are to promote the shipping industry as a whole and to instil an awareness of marine environmental processes to young people nationally.This will be achieved by the production and launch of a project website, by September 2008, which holds a suite of novel and engaging resources teachers will be able to freely download and use as teaching aids in the classroom environment nationwide.

Project Plan: In order to achieve the project aim and expected outcomes, three clear objectives, or ‘phases’ are intended to be carried out:

Phase I – Research & Development: Of the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum and the current resource needs of teachers across the North-East and London. This stage will also secure 2-3 schools in London and Newcastle that are willing to host resource piloting sessions, to ensure teaching materials subsequently uploaded onto the project website are engaging and useful for both teachers and pupils alike. Phase II – Resource Development & Piloting: Develop teaching resources based on National Curriculum analysis and pilot them at the ‘partner schools’ across the North-East and London secured during Phase I. Phase III - Website Development & Launch: Develop and launch the project website and upload teaching resources, monitoring their use and adapting as necessary based on teacher and pupil feedback.

Summary: This project is a novel approach to engaging school pupils with marine environmental issues, and is the first of its kind to make the clear link between marine science and technology so prominent. Once complete, it is hoped the project website will go on to dispel the poor uptake of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) subject’s post 16, and inspire young people to think more sustainably about their valuable and majestic marine environment that covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface.