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Students get BIOS experience

Harrington Sound Primary students visit Walsingham Nature Reserve

Students at Harrington Sound Primary School were recently given a hands-on marine research experience with the help of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

A group of 39 P6 pupils at the school spent three days and two nights at BIOS, taking part in a plankton tow and learning about the local marine environment.

Cindy Weeks, acting principal at Harrington Sound, conceived of the educational experience while working as a science teacher at the Whitney Institute and looking for innovative ways to engage her students in real-world science.

“The experience at this world-renowned science facility was unprecedented,” Ms Weeks said. “When I took the position at Harrington Sound I moved the event with me.

“I don’t know whether Bermuda knows what a great resource BIOS is and what impact it has had around the globe.”

Over the course of their visit the students learnt how to use microscopes to examine marine organisms, took boat trips to Cooper’s Island and caves at Walsingham Nature Reserve, completed maths and science lessons using data collected from the beach and made presentations to their teachers and parents about what they learnt.

Kelly Madeiros, vice chair of the school’s PTA, said that she had been told by past students that the programme was a life-changing experience.

“For some students, they ended up changing their educational pathways, and all of them end up with a greater appreciation for the ocean and Bermuda’s environment,” she said.

Ms Maderios led this year’s PTA efforts to fundraise for the trip, hoping to give every P6 student the opportunity to participate without adding financial burden to families.

BIOS contributed through its Ocean Academy curriculum enrichment field trip grant programme, which covered everything except room and board for the students, while the Neil Burnie Foundation stepped forward to sponsor ten students for the trip.

Other donors included the Bank of Butterfield, RenaissanceRe, P&M Electric, Argus Insurance, as well as individual donors within the community.