The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education distributed digital video microscopes and related supplies to some Hawaiʻi Department of Education middle schools statewide. C-MORE hopes this new program will shed light on the hidden world of micro-organisms.
“Every drop of sea water contains some of the most important organisms on the planet, and most people probably don’t even realize it,” said Jim Foley, a marine science educator with C-MORE. “Microbes are the engines of the marine food web, and produce about half of the oxygen that we breathe.”
“These lessons are blowing them away,” one teacher commented after the students used the digital video microscope. “They had no idea that there were microscopic things living in the ocean and they asked millions of questions along the lines of ‘So when we swim at the beach, these things are touching us?’ and if there were ‘things’ in our drinking water. It totally opened their eyes to the fact that there are microscopic creatures all around us.”
The program is a partnership with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education and the UH Fostering Inspiration and Relevance through Science and Technology Pre-Academy Initiative.
To receive the equipment, teachers must attend a C-MORE professional development workshop to learn how to safely collect plankton and how to operate and care for the microscope. For more information, visit C-MORE’s website or read the news release.