The COSIA Activities are a set of hands-on activities that explore ocean sciences concepts, to be used in the gallery spaces at informal science education institutions. These activities have been designed for, and field tested in, informal settings. These activities can be used in the COSIA course as exemplars; course participants can try them out, to learn about the characteristics of an effective activity. Descriptions of each activity are listed below. To download the activities, scroll down to find the SMILE Pathway widget on the right side of the page, or visit HOWTOSMILE.org and search for “COSIA” or “ocean.”
COSIA Activity Descriptions
Learners explore a bucket of sand and beach drift and use a model to show how sand could be composed of items found on a beach.
Learners observe and interact with crayfish (or other live organisms) while facilitators guide them to make observations, ask questions, and engage in investigations to learn more about them. If they wish, learners can set up their own investigation to answer questions they wonder about crayfish.
Learners are engaged at a marine touch tank exhibit while making careful observations and asking questions about the organisms that they can answer for themselves with additional observations or mini-experiments.
Learners make fish adaptations wheels that allow them to examine different body structures (mouth shape/position/teeth, body shape, tail shape, and coloration patterns) and how their variations allow fish to be successful in their habitats. Based on this information, learners make predictions about the behavior and habitats of fish throughout the aquarium.
Learners explore seaweed samples and discover that seaweed plays a more important role in their life than they may think.
Marine Skulls Cart
Learners interact with skulls of several marine animals to explore similarities and differences between the animals and how and what they eat.
Learners observe a variety of sand samples with the naked eye and up close (with hand lenses and microscopes). They investigate what their sand is composed of and make inferences about the process and forces that made it.
Learners explore the diversity of shark feeding adaptations and diet by interacting with shark artifacts. Shark teeth are the focus of the activity, but shark senses, anatomy and conservation may also be discussed.
Skin, Scales and Skulls
Learners interact with many different “hard parts” of animals and are introduced to the concept that animals have a variety of features that help to protect their bodies.
A 3-dimensional topographic model (Enviroscape) of a watershed with various natural and human features is used to illustrate how our land-based actions can and do adversely affect water quality and how our actions can either harm or protect a watershed.
Learners interact with whale artifacts including skull replica, bones, teeth, and baleen, and learn more about the diversity, biology, and conservation of whales.
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