Lincoln teachers gather for ocean literacy symposium

Newport's bayfront is among the living classrooms for this week's ocean literarcy symposiumNEWPORT – At least 350 school teachers, administrator, scientists and guests will gather in Newport Wednesday for the second annual Lincoln County K-12 Ocean Literacy Symposium, “Understanding the Ocean’s Influence on You and Your Influence On the Ocean.”

The Aug. 29 symposium, part of the Lincoln County School District’s annual Improvement Days for school teachers and administrators, is sponsored by Oregon Sea Grant, OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Lincoln County School District.  Originally aimed at Lincoln SD teachers, the symposium has been expanded this year to teachers from Tillamook County and the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District.

After convening at Newport High School in the morning, participants will fan out to the HMSC, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Newport bayfront, Yaquina River estuary and other locations for hands-on breakout sessions exploring a variety of marine science topics, curricula and teaching tools. Topics range from ocean conservation to coastal tsunami hazards, spanning disciplines such as biology, oceanography and marine engineering, and include ocean-related activities and lessons for all grade levels and academic specialties, from science to music and physical education.

The goal is to build understanding among coastal students of the essential principles of ocean literacy:

  • The Earth has one big ocean with many features
  • The ocean and life in the ocean shape the features of the Earth
  • The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate
  • The ocean makes Earth habitable
  • The ocean supports a great diversity of life and ecosystems
  • The ocean and humans are inextricably connected
  • The ocean is largely unexplored

The symposium grew out of a three year,  $900,000 per year Math-Science Partnership grant from the US Department of Education, administered via the state of Oregon Department of Education. The project teamed the Lincoln County School District with scientists, informal science educators and science education faculty at several academic, non-profit and government science institutions to develop, implement, and evaluate teacher professional development and student learning experiences that focus on ocean literacy and aquatic and marine science.

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