Last Monday, a group of 5th and 6th class students from Kilglass National School in Co Galway delivered their 1.5 meter mini unmanned sailboat called “SeoltÃ³ir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor” to the research vessel of the Marine Institute, the RV Celtic Explorer, in Galway Harbor. .
Scientists from the Marine Institute will deploy the RV Celtic Explorer mini-boat in the Atlantic Ocean, near the M6 ââweather buoy, during the AIMSIR (Atlantic In-situ Marine Scientific Infrastructure Replacement) survey.
The mini-boat is equipped with a sail and a satellite tracker, or transmitter, which allows students to follow it as it navigates the ocean and gain a better understanding of ocean currents. This initiative is part of the international educational crossings program that connects schools around the world through the mini-boat activity.
Commending the collaborative effort of the Explorer Education Program Team, Kilglass National School, Marine Institute Infrastructure Team, and Educational Passages in the United States. Patricia Orme, Acting CEO, said: âThe Explorers Mini-Boat Project is a wonderful example of marine science knowledge and civic engagement with the oceans. It supports the Marine Institute’s Oceans of Learning campaign, which highlights the value of partnerships essential to sharing marine science with the wider community. For children, this project offers an exciting way to see real-life examples of how the ocean influences all of our lives, learn how the ocean influences our weather and climate, and the types of technologies used. .
Peter Kane, teacher at Kilglass National School, added: âThis is a comprehensive STEM project and cross-cutting in nature. Using the boat as a focal point provides an excellent example of how teachers can integrate marine themes through a range of transversal activities. This included learning how the boat was built, to cover a range of science and technology concepts using GPS and satellites.
Padraic Creedon, Head of Explorer Education, Galway Atlantaquaria, said: âIt was great to watch the kids deepen their understanding of the ocean, complete science experiments and produce amazing class presentations about our ocean. The kids also learned about marine biodiversity in the ocean, from the smallest microscopic plankton to the world’s largest animals – the blue whales that migrate across the Atlantic.
The provision of the boat was financed within the framework of the European Interreg iFADO project, of which the Marine Institute is a partner. Engaging in the mini-boat project, the iFADO research consortium is launching five mini-boats around the Atlantic this year from Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France and the United Kingdom.
Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Explorers Strategic Education Manager, Camden Education Trust, said: âAll over the world people can watch and track mini-boats in the ocean, including SeoltÃ³ir Na Gaillimhe – the Galway Sailor. The project web page is accessible to children, teachers and their classes. It’s a really fun way to connect people, and predicting where the boat may land is part of that experience. At least 11 mini-boats have landed in Ireland since 2009, and some have been salvaged, repaired and relaunched.
âCurrently there are six vessels actively reporting in the Atlantic, and some in the Pacific as well. The Explorer Education Program and Educational Passes are absolutely thrilled to see another ship leave Galway and look forward to seeing how it can connect more people around our global ocean.
To follow the SeoltÃ³ir Na Gaillimhe mini-boat – the Galway Sailor, visit: https://educationalpassages.org/boats/seoltoir_na_gaillimhe/