C-MORE provides microscope-lending program to Hawai'i's middle schools

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Marcie N W Grabowski, (808) 956-3151
Outreach Coordinator, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Jim Foley, (808) 956-7739
C-MORE Marine Science Educator
Posted: Feb 7, 2012

Students collect and view microbes using a microscope.
Students collect and view microbes using a microscope.

As part of its wide-range education program, the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) based at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, is partnering with the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) and the UH Fostering Inspiration and Relevance through Science and Technology (FIRST) Pre-Academy Initiative to distribute digital video microscopes and related supplies (valued at $1,775) to Hawaiʻi's DOE middle schools statewide.

C-MORE hopes this new program will shed light on the hidden world of micro-organisms (or microbes).  “Every drop of sea water contains some of the most important organisms on the planet, and most people probably don’t even realize it!  Microbes are the engines of the marine food web, and produce about half of the oxygen that we breathe,” said Jim Foley, a Marine Science Educator with C-MORE.  After using the video microscope, one teacher wrote about the impact this experience had on her students, “These lessons are blowing them away.  They had no idea that there were microscopic things living in the ocean- and they asked millions of questions along the lines of "So when we swim at the beach, these things are touching us?" and ... if there were "things" in our drinking water. It totally opened their eyes to the fact that there are microscopic creatures all around us!”

To receive the equipment, teachers must attend a C-MORE professional development workshop to learn how to safely collect plankton and how to operate and care for the microscope.  Teachers who attend the workshop will earn DOE professional development credit (called "HOUSSE points") and learn about free hands-on and online curricular resources.  The first Microscopes to Middle Schools workshop was held on Oʻahu on December 3, 2011.  The next two workshops will be on February 11 in Kahului, Maui; and March 3 in Hilo, Hawaiʻi.

To receive workshop information, to sign up, or to be added to the mailing list, please contact Jim Foley at foleyj@hawaii.edu or 956-7739 with your name, school, and contact information.   For more information, visit: cmore.soest.hawaii.edu/education.htm.