On November 26 and 27, 2015, the Tara Expeditions team met with students from high schools in the Academies of Versailles, Paris and Creteil.
Through screenings of films, video clips and a slide show, the students learned about Tara’s mission in the heart of Greenland’s ice pack. Gaby Gorsky, an oceanographer who has participated in many expeditions aboard Tara, spoke of the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity (ocean acidification, rising sea levels, increasing temperatures, etc.). He also discussed the ocean’s vital role in the climate system, and the problem of marine pollution from plastic waste. Brigitte Sabard, in charge of educational projects for Tara Expeditions, organized and participated in these encounters.
Discussions focused on Tara’s mission in Greenland during the summer of 2015. The 2 scientists (both present on this voyage) described life on board, and the human adventure involved in such an expedition. Other more general questions reflected the young audience’s increasing awareness of climate change, but also their concern about the amplification of impacts in the future, and the fate of humanity facing such challenges. The scientists and teachers then presented possible courses of individual action, as well as the stakes of the COP21.
Each meeting brought together about 100 high school students, and thanks to broadcast by video conference, other classes were also able to follow the exchanges. At the Lycée du Bourget (Academy of Creteil), the students even filmed the interventions to present them afterwards as part of a “media education” project based on the COP21. In Sceaux (Academy of Versailles), the Rector reaffirmed his commitment to raising students’ awareness in the context of the COP21 and beyond: the Academy of Versailles and the Ateliers Canopé are privileged partners of Tara Expeditions, and some teachers are collaborating on the production of educational tools.
Such meetings are always excellent catalysts for students. Teachers can take the opportunity to create dynamic projects in their classrooms. Meeting scientists who lived aboard Tara strongly motivates young people. The scientific adventure becomes real for them. As for teachers, it’s a way to present a vital subject in a different mode from the usual course work.
At the end of the meetings, teachers can use the educational tools available on Tara’s website: worksheets, information files, photo and video resources, etc. The content of the Tara conferences may also be linked to the high school curriculum in many disciplines – physics/chemistry, mathematics or natural sciences, but also in geography, economy, etc.
These screenings and meetings were organized with the support of the Regional Council of Ile de France and the Ateliers Canopé of the Ministry of National Education.