The following blog was written by #SharkArmy member Sorrell.
This isn’t the first time I’ve written educational material for the students of the after-school club at Navigation Primary School in Altrincham, Manchester. The club is run by Matthew Payne from @A_Fathers_Pride and excitingly this particular club has received input from many individuals and organisations teaching the younger generation about a variety of animals and conservation issues.
It’s thrilling to know that I’m helping kids understand the complex ecosystems surrounding sharks, their ecological importance as well as supplying them with relevant, inspiring information. By providing general facts and statistics on individual shark species and promoting the threats they face it makes me feel like I’m making a difference, if only a small one!
Most importantly of all I’m delighted to hear these kids are just as enthusiastic as me about these magnificent animals! They even pester their teacher to learn more about our finned friends which is exactly what triggered the latest sharkie project below. Of course, I had to take the bait and help out..
So this time around I produced fun fact sheets to engage, educate and inspire them. The fact sheets produced were species specific which was a great opportunity for me to learn more myself! Two fact sheets were produced, the Great Hammerhead (sphyrna mokarran) and Sand Tiger Shark (carcharias taurus).
FOR A COPY OF OUR FACT SHEETS PLEASE EMAIL US
The kids all aged between 7-8 years enjoyed the fact sheets and went on to produce their own versions with some additional information. Some even created new additions based on different sharks; Makos and Great Whites were amongst the favourites! I was thoroughly impressed and as you can see in the pictures below they put a lot of thought into these making them look all sharkified with bites taken out of the paper and illustrations that far rival my own attempts at drawing!
Take a look at some quotes and pictures:
Bertie on the Mako shark: ‘..Another little known fact is their top speed is 60mph, but normally swim at 35mph’
Zara on the Great Hammerhead: ‘Do you think sharks are mean? You’re wrong, they’re kind!’.. ‘ Did you know?.. The teeth of the Great Hammerhead shark are triangular and strongly serrated in both jaws’
No name on this one.. but a powerful and important message: ‘If we aren’t careful sharks will be extinct’
I was also honoured to be used in their literacy class where the kids wrote an imaginary collection of letters to and from myself about a shark that they found in their swimming pools, ponds, lakes or wherever their imaginations took them! These were very entertaining to read and again, visually pleasing. I wish I could draw..!
I’ve taken the liberty of providing you with some snippets and again, those jawesome pictures!
‘Dear Sorrell Hatt,
You will never guess what I found on my trampoline! It was a shark it looks grey and has gills and lots of teeth. Please can you give me some more information on the shark?
P.S. I think it might be hurt’
‘Dear Sorrell Hatt
I am writing to you because there is a shark in my swimming pool! I think it is a basking shark. I put a picture in could you help me? What does a basking shark eat? I fed it some krill would that be ok? I’m worried that it is alone and should be with its herd. Could it be hurt?
Write back soon and let me know what I can do.
P.S. when I am older I would like to save sharks’
I hope you all agree that these kids are both very passionate and talented. It lifts my spirits to know that they enjoy taking part in these projects and that they are keen to know more- even more inspiring to see that some of them want to save sharks at such a young age!
I wish these kids all the best with whatever they choose to do as they grow, I hope that they continue this empathy for all animals and I hope to work with them again in the future.
The more kids realise we’re all connected and that sharks along with many other vitally important species deserve our upmost respect and most certainly protection the better this world will be for future generations. I am left inspired. I hope you are too.
Please remember to follow the #SharkArmy on Twitter! @SNLSharkArmy