Outreach resources

Background and materials for Schools Outreach projects

In 2019, POGO successfully partnered with the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) to conduct a major shipboard outreach initiative during the South-North Atlantic training Transect (SoNoAT).  This was a month-long shipboard training cruise, during which the students and teaching staff carried out a variety of outreach communications, including Skype sessions, blog posts and social media interactions. Skype sessions involved thirteen schools in five countries (two in Germany, eight in the UK, one in Ireland, one in Brazil and one in Japan) and a climate conference (Klimakonferenz Wir.Machen.Klima.) in Germany. It is estimated that these audiences included over 250 school children from ages between nine and 18 years old.  

During September 2022, a similar training cruise is taking place, as the research vessel travels from Bremerhaven, in Germany, to Cape Town, in South Africa.  This floating summer school - the ‘North-South Atlantic training Transect’ (NoSoAT), is a UN Ocean Decade Endorsed Action, and runs from 30 August to 29 September 2022.

Building on the successes and lessons learned in 2019, we are once again using it as a platform for public outreach and communication, with the addition of a new element. For the 2022 cruise, POGO, with the financial support of the Nippon Foundation, has purchased four ‘Miniboats’ from Educational Passages – a not-for-profit organisation. These are 1.5m long uncrewed vessels, which each have a satellite transmitter, allowing them to be tracked as they sail across the ocean, together with sensors for air and water surface temperature. They are supplied as a ‘build-your-own’ kit, designed to be assembled and decorated by school students as part of a guided project. 

We are partnering with oceanographic institutions in Ireland, Germany, Spain and South Africa, who are each working with local children to assemble the miniboats. These will then be deployed in the Atlantic, allowing the students to track the progress of their own vessel, and that of the others involved in the project, and learn about ocean currents, weather, technology, etc. The international collaborative nature of the project provides an extraordinary opportunity for school children in four different countries to interact with each other, their local oceanographic institution and researchers and with the young marine science trainees on board the ship.

The German Icebreaker departed from Bremerhaven on 30 Aug, and is carrying three of our miniboats, to be deployed during September:   

  • The El Cisne Alto (The Tall Swan), assembled by students of Colegio Cisneros Alter, with the support of Dr Jesus Arrieta from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography in Tenerife, Spain.   
  • The Schnelle Welle (Fast Wave), assembled by children participating in a summer activity camp, with the support of Dr Eva-Maria Brodte from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Helgoland, Germany  
  • The Spiorad na Gaillimhe (Spirit of Galway), assembled by students of Scoil Bhríde Lackagh, with the support of Dr Sheena Fennell from the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland.   

The fourth miniboat (Yemaya), assembled by students of the Luhlaza High, with the support of Dr Thomas Mtontsi from the South African Environmental Observation Network in Cape Town, will be deployed by the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s Research Vessel Algoa, around the 27 September. 

You can follow the expedition on social media via Twitter (@POGO_Ocean and @AWI_Media),  Instagram (@pogo_ocean and nf_pogocofe) and Facebook (POGO.ocean and AWI).

Please see below for some downloadable materials, and links to other resources, which we hope will be of help to participating schools and other interested parties.

NoSoAT Miniboats and Outreach Project 2022

Partners and Schools involved




South Africa 

Follow the expedition and miniboats online
Links & Downloads

MAPS for plotting tracks:

A Powerpoint slide presentation about the project can be downloaded here: /sites/default/files/Resources/POGO_Miniboat_NoSoAt2022_OTPdownload_FINAL.pptx

  • This includes links to YouTube animations/videos explaining CTD sampling. 
  • It includes speaker notes, to allow teachers to talk about the slides with students. 
  • Some slides are probably too technical for younger children, but may be useful for KS3/4 (UK), or for teachers' background information

A4 Flyer explaining ocean observing: /sites/default/files/Resources/POGO%20STEM_OceanObs_brochure.pdf

Question prompts for Skype call between schools and the Ship: /sites/default/files/Resources/SuggestedQuestionsforSchools.docx

Skype details form for schools: /sites/default/files/Resources/SoNoAT%20Schools%20Skype%20Form.docx

SoNoAT Schools Outreach Project 2019

Downloadable materials

The first OTP schools outreach initiative took in conjunction with the ‘South-North Atlantic Training Transect’ (SoNoAT 2019) an international ‘Floating Summer School’, where 25 young post-graduate marine scientists from around the world spent a month on board the German Icebreaker research vessel, RV Polarstern, as she traveled from the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic to Bremerhaven, Germany.  During their time on board, these young scientists will receive field training in oceanography, and will carry out short research projects with a focus on Ocean, Atmosphere and Climate interactions.  This Atlantic Transect floating summer school model has run successfully on two previous occasions, in 2015 and 2016, in a North-South direction, from Bremerhaven to Cape Town, South Africa.
During the expedition, we engaged with partner schools in the UK, Germany, Ireland, and Japan, providing them with educational materials on ocean observations. Students had the chance to communicate directly with the ship via live Skype calls during the cruise, as well as sending written or video questions to be answered in kind.  Schools are also participating in a design competition, with the winners sending their decorated polystyrene cups into the deep Atlantic as part of a 'remote experiment' to help them understand the effects of ocean pressure.

Once the ship departs from Port Stanley on 3 June, you can follow the expedition on social media via Twitter (@POGO_Ocean and @AWI_Media),  Instagram (@pogo_ocean and nf_pogocofe) and Facebook (POGO.ocean and AWI).

  • A Powerpoint slide presentation about the expedition can be downloaded here: /sites/default/files/Resources/SoNoAT%20introduction.pptx
    • This includes links to YouTube animations/videos explaining ARGO floats (pitched at primary level) and CTD sampling. 
    • It includes speaker notes, to allow teachers to talk about the slides with students. 
    • There are a few ‘hidden’ slides which are probably too technical for younger children, but may be useful for KS3/4 (UK), or for teachers' background information
About R V Polarstern

The SoNoAT Floating Summer School is taking place on board the German Icebreaker, the Research Vessel Polarstern - the most important resource for German polar research and the flagship of the Alfred Wegener Institute. Commissioned on 9 December 1982, the Polarstern has since logged more than 1.5 million nautical miles, or roughly 2.7 million kilometres (as of 2014). Today she’s one of the world’s most advanced and versatile polar research ships in the world.

The Polarstern operates an average of 310 days a year, typically cruising in the Antarctic from November to March and pursuing research in the Arctic during the summer months. In the process, she covers ca. 50,000 nautical miles every year – the equivalent of two trips around the Equator. A veritable powerhouse, the research icebreaker can even operate in the pack ice zone: a double-walled steel hull and 20,000 horsepower allow her to easily break through 1.5-metre-thick ice; thicker ice can be overcome by ramming. Further, the Polarstern is equipped for sustained operations at temperatures down to -50 degrees Celsius, and can even overwinter in the ice of the polar seas.

Ocean Literacy & Lesson resources

  • The Argo stop-motion animation aims to inspire children (and adults) to engage with marine science. It is quirky, fun and informative at the same time. The animation explains what an Argo float is, how it operates and how all this data helps us to understand the ocean circulation and climate.


ATLAS Project education packs


ATLAS is an EU funded project with a focus on assessing deep-water ecosystems in the Atlantic.  Education materials include the following topics:

  • Animal, vegetable, mineral
  • Hydrothermal vents
  • Ocean Importance
  • Ocean acidification
  • Pressure in the deep
  • Taxonomy challenge
  • Threats to coral reefs
IOC UNESCO Ocean Literacy Portal

The Ocean Literacy Portal serves as a worldwide one-stop shop, providing resources and content available to all, with the goal of creating an ocean-literate society able to make informed and responsible decisions on ocean resources and ocean sustainability.



Encounter Edu designs and delivers sponsored STEM and global learning programs for use inside and outside the classroom. They are available to use by educators and students, free of charge.

NANOOS (Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems)
Ocean Colour

What colour is the Ocean? ALesson by NASA, which uses a simple spectrophotometer:

Ocean Currents

NOAA Podcast on Ocean Currents

  • Making Waves: Episode 123 is a 3 minute podcast which explains the three main reasons why we have ocean currents – Tides, Wind, and  Thermohaline (heat/salinity) circulation.
  • Activity 10 on this webpage (not NOAA) is an excellent classroom demonstration of how warm/cold currents work.
Ocean-themed books and stories

The Authors4Oceans website brings together authors and illustrators who are passionate about the natural world and preserving it for future generations.

Sea Change Project

Sea Change is an EU H2020 funded project that aims to establish a fundamental “Sea Change” in the way European citizens view their relationship with the sea, by empowering them, as Ocean Literate citizens, to take direct and sustainable action towards a healthy ocean, healthy communities and ultimately a healthy planet.

Through its website, it provides a variety of ocean literacy resources for varous groups, including educators:

Lesson Plans


Smithsonian Ocean

The Smithsonian Institution's dedicated Ocean-focused website includes a number of resources for educators, including searchable lesson plans:



Virtual Tour of a Research Vessel

The R V Celtic Explorer is a 65.5m multi-purpose research vessel run by te Marine Institute in Ireland.

You can view an immersive 360 degree tour of the ship at this link:


Which phytoplankton are you?

Answer four questions to discover which of these diverse organisms is most like you!


World Ocean Day (8 June)

Official World Ocean Day Portal

United Nations World Oceans Day Portal:

World Ocean Day for Schools