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Hands-on Science Education

Fisheries and Oceans Canada scientists, Dr. Shannon Obradovich and Dr. Charles Hannah, visit students from Powell River, British Columbia to discuss ocean monitoring research and launch an ocean current tracker.



I think one of the best things that you can do to encourage children and youth to be involved in science is giving them hands on opportunities.

The students out of Brooks high school were involved in a beach clean-up and they ended up finding one of these drifter devices that had information linking it back to Fisheries and Oceans.

So, it basically organically came about that there was this opportunity to share some of DFO science and take the students out to launch a device of their own that they would be able to track.


The more I can get those kids outside get their hands dirty, get them applying that theory, then they get a little more of a global, local perspective on what they’re learning and applying it.”


So the device they found is something we formally call the Surface Circulation Tracker. We also informally call it a SpongeBob.

What’s a spongebob? Well, it’s a drifter. Toss them in the ocean and it moves with the water. The basic application is anything. We actually want to know how far and how fast something is going to move at the surface of the ocean. But really what I want to know is where does the water come from and where is it going?

With today’s activity with the students my version of success for the SpongeBob is to actually get the students really engaged and interested in this kind of thing.

Kid 1

I think it was really eye opening seeing the work that goes behind this that no one sees. It was really cool to see.

Kid 2

And I’m definitely considering something to do with the ocean. I don’t really know what I want to do but I think definitely something ocean-related.


So it was a wonderful experience and that just became science in action and it’s a bit of a beautiful thing.

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