The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) is in the last stages of developing its new school program, which is expected to open to Palau’s schools towards the end of the year.
The program, which is under development by PICRC’s Outreach Team, is designed to cater to elementary through high-school classes, using research the Center has carried out to build on science students are learning in school.
According to the Outreach Team, the school program is based on the Ministry of Education’s (MOE’s) Science Education Standards. It consists of a “menu” of two-to-three-hour lessons, designed to fit in to school curricula.
The Outreach Team said that, although it is not available yet, a tab will be added to the PICRC website in coming months which allows teachers to read about the different lessons the Center offers, and then send a request to the Center for whichever lesson they would like their class to participate in.
Ms. Maria Moreno, Communications and Outreach Officer at the Center, has been developing the program lessons using the MOE’s Science Education goals as a basis, and says that the lessons cover all areas of general science, such as physical science, natural science, and earth science. According to the age group of the class, they will incorporate a variety of model-making, lecture, experimentation, and field-work.
Examples of the types of lessons the program will offer include squid dissection, exploring the density of water and its relationship to ocean currents, mangrove identification, and observing and simulating human impacts on marine ecosystems like ocean acidification and coral bleaching.
Ms. Moreno also emphasized that the program will use hands-on activities not only to educate, but also to inspire students to get involved in environmental protection.
“We want teachers and students to spend a whole morning at the center, learning and exploring,” Ms. Moreno said. “The aim is for students to take that knowledge and do something with it: promote conservation, organize conservation-related activities, and make changes in their lifestyles in favor of our ocean and planet.”
The Center has recently renovated its Student Laboratory in the Research Building, replacing the floor, painting the walls, and installing a projector and speaker system. The Student Lab is designed to fit a maximum of 24 students.
PICRC CEO Dr. Yimnang Golbuu said that the school program seeks to use Palau’s marine environments and coral reefs as a tool for student education, and to bring together the experience of researchers, educators, and outreach officers for greater community awareness.
“Education and awareness is an important part of the Center’s work,” said Dr. Golbuu. “With the school program, we can now contribute directly to student learning using our facilities, expertise, and resources. We want to bring science education to life for the students of Palau.”

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