Learners get to grips with the practicalities of classification

  • 24 October 2012 | Ann Kunz | Category: Education

Marine education guide Patsy Demmers explains the classification of starfish

The NPC Sea World Education Centre recently hosted South City High School from the lower South Coast for a course on classification, which forms part of the Grade 11 school curriculum.

Classification is quite a difficult concept to teach in the classroom, where learners have to use their imagination while relying solely on textbooks.  At uShaka Sea World the learners were able to view live animals and dried specimens, and before long classification theory began to make more sense.

Learners listen as marine education guide Sonja Gibson describes a shark's anatomy

After the two-hour bus journey from Margate, the learners soon got to work studying the different characteristics of the specimens on display, under the watchful eyes of uShaka Sea World's marine educationists, Patsy Demmers and Sonja Gibson. Once they had completed their study material and compared their observations with recorded video clips, it was time to head down to the aquarium

No amount of study material compares to watching live animals while learning the differences in the animals' anatomy and why they are classified accordingly.

Patsy Demmers demonstrates the art of filter feeding using a model

The aquarium is home to more animals than a group of Grade 11 learners could classify in a morning, but they worked through as many as possible before heading off to enjoy the dolphin show.

The learners expressed their gratitude to the marine education guides, who spent the morning sharing their fascination with and passion for life’s biological order.

We trust that when the learners return to their desks and classification is once again the topic of the day, they will all be very clear on which animal belongs where, and why!

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