Sixteen science and geography teachers from nine different High Schools from around Scotland spent the weekend at SAMS to learn about climate change and the oceans. The course offered a mixture of theoretical and practical classes, field trips, and time to network and enjoy the environment.
After a general introduction to climate and the diverse forcing factors involved in creating climate and climate change, past climates were explored to gain an understanding of the dynamic past of Earth climates. Participants and tutors then made good use of the spectacular weather and went on a field excursion to the Gulf of Corryvreckan to study evidence of past climates in the landscape, experience the power of ocean currents, and to spot some marine wildlife. The remainder of Saturday afternoon was spent in the laboratory learning about the analysis of sediment cores to reconstruct past climates. The teachers took samples of microfossils used by geologists with them to use in class.
Sunday started off with exploring the physics of climate change and the role and working of ocean currents, followed by a talk on the chemistry of climate change, focussing on the workings of the biological pump, and on acidification.After lunch the emphasis shifted to biological implications of climate change through lectures and field work on the shore behind the SAMS laboratory.
This was the first time that SAMS conducted a teacher course at the Dunstaffnage facilities. The organisation used to run regular courses for teachers in the early part of the 20th century - the first one in 1901 - at the Millport laboratories, when teachers and scientists wore quite different attire!
The feedback from teachers was very positive, and SAMS will offer another course next year.
For further information, please contact Dr Anuschka Miller.