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Famed ocean explorer Jean Michel Cousteau, son of the lengendary filmmaker Jacques-Yves Cousteau, kindly provided most of the segments for these videos, and is also featured on camera in the Introduction. When beginning your presentation, start by showing this two-minute introduction, which will describe the program and introduce you as a presenter. Jean Michel’s warm introduction will help set the stage for getting the audience more in tune with the importance of the world’s oceans.
Please note that special care and attention was given to protect the plants and animals portrayed in the videos. We suggest that you not use live animals or specimens to supplement the presentations. Explain to the audience the delicate nature of the ecosystems they are studying and how important it is not to disturb them.
Make it Interactive
To a fourth grader, a set of snorke or scuba gear is completely fascinating, so bring your gear with you. (Leave your dive knife at home for safety reasons.) You’ll be a big hit with the class simply by describing each piece of gear and how it works. If possible, bring a small “pony bottle” tank attached to a small buoyancy compensator (BC) and let the kids take turns trying it on. They’ll be enthralled to learn how a scuba regulator works to provide a diver with breathing air while underwater. Other props may include marine plastic pollution you’ve collected while diving or during a beach clean-up, and photos, magazines or books that illustrate what the underwater world is like.
Finally, for smaller kids, the Oceans for Youth Foundation website provides downloadable coloring book pages that you can print and take to hand out in the classroom.
Identify Local Resources
Getting kids interested in exploring marine environments goes hand in hand with getting them interested in the marine environment. Make sure you identify local resources that will help fuel their interest, such as aquariums or museums, marine parks, or dive centers that offer additional kids’programs (including scuba birthday parties).
If you intend to distribute printed material to the class, make sure the teacher approves it first. Business solicitations are usually frowned upon.
Sample Questions and Answers (Note: Corresponds to info provided in the videos)
Q: Do you know what strategy dolphins use to find fish even in the dark?
A: They use echolocation, sending off clicking sounds that return to them which is like underwater sonar. Like bats, they locae objects by reflected sound.
Q: Can you guess why the clown fish (which you may recognize as “Nemo”) is acting like such a bully in the video? A: They are protecting their home which is the sea anenome.
Q: Why are the fish in this video acting so weird, is it something in the water? A: They are trying to attract attention, so that a “cleaner fish” will clean them; it's their way of asking to see a doctor.
Rain Forests of the Sea
Q: Why is a coral reef like a rainforest?
A: Biological diversity. Coral reefs are rich in biodiversity, which is the total number of different plants and animals that live in a place. More marine species live on coral reefs than in any other type of ocean environment.
Q: Why are manatees sometimes called “sea cows”?
A: Manatees, like cows, graze on plant material. A manatee can consume more than 100 pounds of aquatic plants in a single day.
Q: How do mangroves withstand the effects of tides and currents and stay in place? A: Each mangrove tree sends out many curved roots. Mud collects around the roots and helps anchor the mangrove tree in place. Together, the roots of a group of mangrove trees create a dense “mat” of roots that works to slow water flow in a mangrove lagoon. This also helps prevent erosion and protects shorelines from storms.
Marine Mammal Rescue
Q: What is the most difficult challenge that faces members of the marine mammal rescue team?
A: Capturing and helping marine mammals in the wild.
Q: What do male elephant seals fight over?
A: Territory. When two elephant seals fight, the winner gets to claim a large territory, or area of the beach where female elephant seals reside. A group of female elephant seals is called a harem. The winning elephant seal will mate with the females, who will give birth to baby seals, called pups.
Molly the Manta
Q: What makes Molly the Manta turn somersaults?
A: Manta rays often turn somersaults when feeding on tiny prey called zooplankton.
Sharks and Rays
Q: What do all sharks have in common?
A: They are fishes. They lack a swim bladder. Their skeletons are made of cartilage instead of bone.
Q: Why do eels tie themselves in knots?
A: Eels use their bodies for leverage when capturing prey. Because eels lack appendages arms or legs or fins they tie themselves in knots to “hold” their prey.
Destroyer at Peace
Q: Why is Jean-Michel Cousteau wearing dive gear on board the ship? A: Because he will ride the ship to the sea floor as it sinks.
Q: Where do clownfish (“Nemo”) live?
A: They reside in an anemone. The anemone’s stinging tentacles which do not harm the clownfish protect it from predators. In return, the clownfish “defends” the anemone. This relationship benefits both the clownfish and the anemone and is called mutualism.
Keiko the Whale
Q: What is the most important part of Keiko’s training?
A: After so many years in captivity, trainers must teach Keiko how to think for himself like a wild whale instead of responding to commands learned in captivity.
Deeper and Longer
Q: Do you know how divers were freed from their leashes?
A: The invention of an apparatus [the aqualung] that allowed them to carry compressed air on their backs and breathe it through a device called a regulator.