Back to search

MARINFORSKHAV-Marine ressurser og miljø - havmiljø

Small Scientist: Promoting Ocean Science Literacy in Children

Awarded: NOK 0.49 mill.

The Small Scientist project translate peer-reviewed marine science research articles into children's literature for use as an Ocean Literacy tool in 256 kindergartens across Norway. The project was a collaborative effort to communicate ocean science through literary prose and illustrations in the book, "Callie og Vannveggen." By utilising rhyme scheme and traditional storytelling techniques, "Callie og Vannveggen" uses knowledge-based wonder to introduce the reader/listener to important topics in marine ecology. Topics such as copepod vertical migration, trophic interactions, oceanography, marine science sampling equipment, the scientific method and collaborative team efforts of both scientists and the (anthropomorphized) copepod friends. The use of emotions throughout the storyline promotes an emotional connection to life in the sea. The writing and illustration styles not only convey marine science information but presents opportunities for play-based learning for small children, thus lending to deeper retention of information. "Callie og Vannveggen" is a marine science story that takes place in Norway and based on Norwegian research. Having the regional setting is important to readers/listeners to draw a connection to their national natural history. Traditional science communication actions lean towards dry material, are limited in accessibility, and often have a mismatch between the ideas of the scientists and the needs of the end-user. Through collaborative teamwork from day 0, the Small Scientist project was able to create a product that communicated science, used age appropriate language and illustrations, and with guaranteed use by the end-user (Læringsverkstedet) as a national Ocean literacy learning tool.

Callie og Vannveggen is used in all 256 Læringsverkstedet kindergartens across Norway as an Ocean literacy tool. Readers/Listeners learn important concepts in marine science, such as big data in the ocean, critical thinking and the scientific method, oceanography, trophic interactions, and connectivity. The book will promote Ocean literacy among small children with >10 000 children annually being read the book and through participation in related activities (art and science activities) linked to the script. Children will be exposed to marine science language, which will not only aid in promotion of Ocean Literacy but also in early childhood language development through expanding their vocabulary. Additional outcomes: Agreements with individual kommunes to use the book to teach ocean literacy in (some of) their kindergartens (in addition to the Læringsverkstedet locations). Scheduled upcoming readings and art/science workshops in two cities. Interest from at least one museum to expand our book into an educational exhibit for children. Interest from stakeholders to create additional Ocean Literacy material.

Small Scientist will promote ocean literacy among the youngest members of society within Norway by creating children's literature from peer-reviewed scientific articles. The project will disseminate research findings from the SEA PATCHES (project number 268391) and STRESSOR (287043) projects. The project is in addition to previously planned outreach efforts. The project will create a picture book for children aged three to five years. The book will be used in Norwegian barnehagene to teach young children ocean science. The most critical R&D challenge is how to communicate topics such as big data, copepod migration behaviour, oceanographic processes, research activities and the scientific method to small children. There is a mismatch between the outreach ideas of scientists and the needs of the end-user. To mitigate the mismatch, a interdisciplinary approach will be initiated from the project start with collaborative work involving the lead scientist in the SEA PATCHES and STRESSOR projects, a science communicator, an award winning children's literature illustrator, and pedagogical experts in early childhood pedagogy from Læringsverkstedet AS. Læringsverkstedet AS is also the end-user. The dual roles held by Læringsverkstedet AS will ensure that the end product holds educational value at an age appropriate level.

Funding scheme:

MARINFORSKHAV-Marine ressurser og miljø - havmiljø