JC010: The teachers!

Gillian McGahan (Leg 1, 14 May - 2 June)

"Hello! My name is Gill McGahan. I have been working as a Biology teacher for a long time at The Downs School in Compton, which is a very rural school, set in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. I have taught lots of children who have gone on to do exciting things with their Science and I am now very excited about this once in a lifetime chance for me!   I have always been interested in seeing the natural world for myself and I am passionate about preserving the planet for the generations to come. I have travelled to see the Rainforest in the Amazon , the Leatherback Turtles in the Caribbean and Coral Reefs in the South China Seas but I have never been on a scientific expedition before. To see how the scientists collect the data and make sense of it will be an amazing experience. It will be brilliant to be able to talk to my pupils on a videoconference and to answer any questions that they may have about life on board the ship. I hope to be their and your eyes and ears on board the first leg of the cruise."

Eduard Vives Mayol (Leg 1, 14 May - 2 June)

"My name is Eduard Vives Mayol and I am from Barcelona, Spain. I studied Chemistry at Universitat de Barcelona and I work in a secondary school as a Science teacher. I teach chemistry, geology, biology and physics to kids aged 12-15.
I have had the chance to know a deep-sea scientist for many years, which has increased my interest in deep-sea ecosystems. To transmit this interest to my students, I planned several seminars for school kids, and I am planning future activities.
Participating in the HERMES research cruise with the ROV Isis will offer me the opportunity to experience deep-sea research first hand and in close relationship with leading European scientists. I hope that my scientific background in chemistry will be useful during the cruise and I will undoubtedly learn from these activities.
My major aim during the cruise is to observe, listen and discuss about work and life on board and communicate all major events and discoveries to school children around Europe in general and in my school in Barcelona in particular. Before I board the James Cook, I will have organised several activities linked to the cruise with several teachers in my school. For example, the english teacher will use the regular entries in the diary for her class, and the arts teacher will work with the kids in relation to the deep-sea animals and landscapes that we investigate at sea and for which there will be photos avaliable on the web. Also, we are planning activities for next year to be incorporated in the curriculum as flexible credits. The cruise will take place in the mud volcanoes in the gulf of Cadiz. This has two important things that will help interest the kids. First, the ecosystem we will be studying is very little known, so there is the excitement of exploration. Second, by being in a region that the kids can relate to (not too far away in a remote country) it will be easier to interest them and hopefully their families back at home.
Finally, while living and working on board, I will be able to experience something  that I always try to teach my students: the importance of teamwork."

Helen Candy (Leg 2, 3 - 21 June)

"Hi! I’m Helen Candy, and I’m a chemistry and physics teacher at St Anne’s Catholic School in Southampton. This is my second year of full-time teaching, and I love it! I trained as a chemist and I love finding out new things about the world around me. At school I love the big experiments that make things change colour and make stuff go bang!  I run a science club where students get to carry out their own investigations – some of my students are finding out about Tsunamis, the likelihood of finding life on other planets, and how to stop onions from making you cry! I think it’s great for students to investigate things that are of interest to them!
This chance to take part in some new research into our oceans is fabulous, and I can’t wait to see what we’re going discover! I’ve really enjoyed designing experiments to carry out, and have spent some time trying to get other departments in my school involved in what we’re doing so that we can all make the most of the resources and opportunities available.
I’m really looking forward to responding to e-mails from people across the UK and Europe, and sharing the work and events that take place whilst we’re away, I only hope I can do it all justice!
I look forward to hearing from you all when I’m on the ship!"

Virginia Martins (Leg 2, 3 - 21 June)

"Hello, my name is Virgínia Martins. I live in a beautiful town, Aveiro, which is located on the centre of the west Portuguese coastline facing the Atlantic. I have a PhD Degree in Geosciences, and I have been teaching Earth and Environmental Sciences, and Biology, since 1980. Presently I am working at the Secondary Scholl Dr. Mário Sacramento, in Aveiro. I also work as a researcher in the Geosciences Department of Aveiro University, where I specialise in microscopic marine animals called foraminifers.
Teaching has been an amusing and challenging career. I do a lot of extra-curricular activities related to science communication. I think that scientific research is done for people. So it makes sense for me to teach science. At present I have an active interest in promoting the relationship between students and researchers, to make research available to young people, as well as the results attained by them. I am actively evolved in several 'Living' Sciences Projects financed by the Portuguese National Agency for the Scientific and Technologic Culture, including a project called: “Ria de Aveiro: knowing, protecting to increase the value” (www.valorizarariadeaveiro.com).
I am very happy and excited to have been selected for theClassroom@Sea expedition aboard RRS James Cook. I think that this experience will be a very important opportunity for me to learn and also for the Portuguese students. I believe that these kind of activities are essential to open young people's eyes to marine science."

Richard Ingram (Leg 3, 22 June - 7 July 2007)

"Hello - I'm Richard Ingram, and I teach Science at key stage 3, and Applied Science, Biology, Chemistry and Physics at GCSE level at Mountbatten School, Romsey, Hampshire. Although my background is in Genetics and Medical Science, I am fascinated by marine science and I'm very excited about spending time on the RSS James Cook, getting my hands dirty and introducing ‘real science’, warts and all, to pupils around the UK and further afield.
I have always been really interested in the sea and the life that it supports. Scuba diving is my favourite past time (the picture is me getting ready to go diving in the Mediterranean Sea off Croatia) and in 2006 I spent two weeks helping the fish in Cataluña, Spain, by doing some underwater conservation work. When diving, I have swam with loads of remarkable creatures, ranging from nudibranchs, a few mm long,  to groupers, the size of a fully grown man! I also love travelling and am really looking forward to starting my adventure in Portugal as it is one of the only European countries I have not yet had a chance to visit.
I'm really looking forward to spending two weeks on the ocean and exploring (OK, Isis will be doing most of the exploring, but you know what I mean…) oceans that are much too deep for any scuba diver to investigate! But I'm not looking forward to the prospect of sea sickness - it's never happened to me before, but you never know…
The beauty of this project is that, in terms of Biology and Geology, nobody knows for sure what we will find. I am, however, looking forward to finding out exactly what it is like to work as an on-location marine scientist."


Tina Hedger (Leg 3, 22 June - 7 July 2007)

Hi! My name is Tina Hedger and I'm a science teacher at Costello Technology College.  After completing a BSc in Environmental Sciences then an MSc in Information Systems, I worked at the Southampton Environment Centre developing the Energy Efficiency Advice Centre.  The advice centres play a key role in providing energy efficiency advice to homes across the UK, as part of the UK’s fight against global warming.  After five years in this role, I left to spend time with my family, then retrained as a teacher, spending four years first at Redbridge Community School in Southampton, followed by a further three years at Costello School in Basingstoke.  On this trip my particular interests are in the marine ecology, looking at the food chains and any evidence of any impact on the ecological systems by man."

With thanks to...

The HERMES project and the Natural Environment Research Council for supporting Classroom@Sea.

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