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New Textbook Emphasizes Importance of Oceans

September 16, 2009

“Life on an Ocean Planet” is the first textbook that meets the official criteria for ocean literacy, thanks in part to Mark Wiley, a marine educator for UNH Cooperative Extension/ N.H. Sea Grant.
Wiley also is currently the president of the Gulf of Maine Marine Educators Association and serves on the ocean literacy committee for the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA). NMEA recently established ocean literacy standards, statements about what students should know about ocean sciences at different grade level groupings, Wiley explained.  
The book’s publisher, Current Publishing Corp., asked Wiley and others serving on the committee to review the content of each book chapter. The eight nationwide committee members identified where the book aligned with NMEA ocean literacy standards and where it needed improvements.
“So many things are affected by the ocean, including climate change with the potential rise in sea level,” Wiley said. “It is important to have a citizenry that is familiar with why the ocean is important and how it impacts all our daily lives.”
Using marine science to teach basic scientific principles is an effective and engaging way to interest students and help them perform at the level set by the state’s educational standards, Wiley said. For example, he commonly uses marine sponges to teach general physics principles rather than other land-based examples.  
Dean Allen, vice president and general manager for Current Publishing Corp., said the “Life on an Ocean Planet” textbook offers abundant resources and flexibility to allow teachers, regardless of their marine science experience, to easily teach the course. The textbook, geared towards students in 10-12 grades 10-12, is part of a curriculum that also includes a laboratory and activity disc and a teacher’s curriculum guide and digital resource package.  

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