Oceana in Belize today launched a new teaching assistant website – www.oceanateachbz.com – which it says is “intended for elementary or secondary education teachers interested in teaching their classroom about climate change and for anyone interested in learning about the origins, impacts, and solutions for climate change within a global and national spectrum.”
Idalia Machuca, a Belizean geophysics student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who is also minoring in oceanography, created the website over the past two months as a part of her summer internship with Oceana in Belize. Machuca, who had never before attempted such an undertaking, worked under the guidance of marine scientist Leah Berry.
“She has never built a website but she knew how to research, how to put information together – very important skills…” said Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Vice President of Oceana in Belize.
The site launched today features five modules: biodiversity, climate change, plastic pollution, mangroves, and energy. Machuca, who describes the modules as crash courses, also included supplementary materials – complete with assignments, activities, games and quizzes. All the documents can be downloaded free of cost.
“I hope the material on this website helps teachers, students, and anyone who is concerned about the status of our environment, whether it be on a global or national scale. I would also like to thank the team at Oceana for their support and encouragement throughout the development of this project,” Machuca said.
The goals of T.A. (Teaching Assistant) Belize are to educate the Belizean population on environmental issues affecting both Belize and the world; to provide a source of information for teachers interested in integrating these topics into their classes; and to inspire Belizeans to take the actions necessary for the preservation of our environment.
Machuca highlighted the “extras” contained on the website, including a photo gallery with collages, mind maps, and other images; plus downloadable papers and reports. There are also links to her source documents and videos.
The website designer also visited the website of the Ministry of Education, where she downloaded the curriculum to ensure that the material in the modules is relevant to Belize.
Machuca returns to Canada this weekend to continue her studies; however, she plans to continue developing the site, along with Oceana’s team.
Matura-Shepherd said that they wanted to get the new educational site up before the school year starts.