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September 24, 2018

Brewerton Elementary Students Experience the Great Barrier Reef with Reef Videoconferencing


Recently, students at Brewerton Elementary School in the Central Square Central School District, joined together with Craig McGrogan and the Reed HQ Aquarium in Australia for an undersea adventure.

The videoconference was part of a distance learning initiative between Oswego County BOCES and Central Square CSD.

Third grade students at Brewerton Elementary signal that a sea turtle is nearby during a videoconference on the Great Barrier Reef.

Third grade students at Brewerton Elementary signal that a sea turtle is nearby during a videoconference on the Great Barrier Reef.

The evening event engaged third grade students and their parents as they learned about the Great Barrier Reef. McGrogan, a Reef Interpretation Officer, delivered information to students during a live dive. The SCUBA diver and host at the aquarium kept the attention of the participants through a question and answer format.

Reef Videoconferencing has the ability to educate students about the diversity of reef, threats to the reef, and how creatures play a role within the reef community.

Students saw for themselves the vast biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef, and learned about anemones, starfish, sea cucumbers and a variety of coral.

McGrogan introduced students to the aquariums resident sea turtle, Noah, and a 70-year-old giant clam.

At one point during the videoconference, McGrogan swam too close to a territorial Redtoothed triggerfish.

The highlight of the program was when McGrogan dived in the shark tank. As instructed, students gave a signal to McGrogan when a shark was near by making a fin out of their hand, and resting it on their heads.

Sharks in the aquarium like to rest during the day, so to keep things interesting, McGrogan hugged a sleeping nine foot shark named Cuddles.

For an extra special treat, McGrogan gave an up close and personal view of the inside a shark’s mouth.

Many students were surprised by her teeny tiny teeth.

As the videoconference came to a close, the marine educators from the session reminded students that they all can help our oceans by recycling and taking care of their garbage.

Students are learning about cultures and countries around the world as part of the third grade curriculum.

Teachers at Brewerton Elementary co-teach, and have been educating students on dot paintings and the Aborigines, the original inhabitants of Australia.

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