The Seattle Aquarium wants to be a resource for schools as they navigate remote learning.
They’ll be providing online content and tools to engage students in learning about the region’s marine environment.
Over the summer, the aquarium surprised more than 200 campers with special “Bubble-Net” boxes. They included a magnifying glass, plush stuffed animal, journal and camp T-shirt.
The packages were filled with items meant to inspire campers after the aquarium canceled their in-person summer camp due to the coronavirus. Most of the campers also donated their registration fee to support the aquarium.
“It made it more exciting,” said 3rd Grader Xavier. “I went outside and got to do something, and you know, it’s quarantine, so you can’t really do anything.”
The care packages are also helping to prevent summer learning loss.
“The way I can take notes now. I could take notes before this summer, but like when I was finding stuff in the backyard and using the magnifying glass, that notebook helped me take notes,” said 6th Grader Ruby.
The kits were designed to strengthen academic skills, so students feel prepared for the fall. They were encouraged to safely explore their neighborhoods, backyards or nearby beaches while staying socially distant.
“And have an inquisitive mind, and to kind of think about it instead of just being that’s just gross, or I’m scared of it. They’re like, I know what that is or let’s look at that more carefully, I am not sure what that is and investigate it a little more,” said Andrea DosSantos, visitor engagement manager at Seattle Aquarium.
DosSantos, who is a parent, felt these summer kits were a huge hit for campers in the area, including her children Xavier and Ruby.
“Sending out these science boxes, these Bubble-Net boxes as we call them, we realize we were able to tap into that engagement that we had lost from in-person opportunity,” said Sean den Bok, Seattle Aquarium’s school and public programs manager.
After seeing success over the summer, the aquarium is preparing fall Bubble-Net boxes to accompany their fall curriculum. This is in addition to new virtual experiences and online content, something they’ve provided since March when they shut down. Even though they’ve reopened, this allows them to reach a larger audience to inspire marine conservation.
“Seattle Aquarium believes we can be that resource that communities support to help fill those gaps that are being created right now through remote learning,” said Bok.
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