Pictured is the cover of Dolphin’s First Day designed by sixth class students of Galway Educate Together National School.
Jul 09 2015 Posted: 10:47 IST

An NUI Galway Ryan Institute project will see 20 children’s books, written and illustrated by this year’s sixth class students of Galway Educate Together National School, reach global audiences through the EcoScience Writers in Schools project.

The goal of this unique project was to create a set of fun and informative teaching resources by supporting the students to write a story for their younger peers on an environmental subject of their choosing. The class chose to write about creatures of the North Atlantic Ocean, incorporating facts into their fictional prose, in a way that is both entertaining and educational.

Dr Sarah Knight, who led this project, said: “When I applied for the funding for this project I had a good idea of its potential, but really it has far surpassed my expectations. The students, and teacher Barry McGuire, of Galway Educate Together completely committed themselves to this project and the proof of that is in the products! These books are all available as flipbooks and downloadable PDFs through the project website, so young people across Galway, and around the world, can learn from them and be inspired too!”

The book Dolphin’s First Day opens with a beautiful scene of a mother dolphin nudging her newborn to the surface to take his first breath. In The Seamount, all sorts of creatures emerge from the habitat to help Gobby the goblin shark scare off the nearly invisible cranchiid squid that is threatening some of the creatures with her greedy appetite. The Gannet and the Smart Fish is an around the world tale of one hungry seabird’s quest to fill her tummy. With twenty books and one graphic poster the end result, there is sure to be something to entertain every young reader.

Professor Colin Brown, Director of NUI Galway’s Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, said: “This is a fantastic project led by a fantastic person. Having produced a resource like this that anyone in the world can read is where we see the future of our outreach education going. The fact that we can produce such a high quality product for teachers in classrooms all over the world is very rewarding indeed. It’s projects like this that put the Ryan Institute on the international stage. We expect a lot of people to use these materials, and, by doing so it will increase visitor traffic to our main website to learn of the high quality research that is going on here in the West of Ireland”.

Working alongside Dr Knight were Gesture Media, who produced the beautiful flipbooks and website, and iSupply printing, who printed hardback copies for each of the students and a full-set for the school itself. Soft copies of any of the books will be available to order directly from iSupply, through the project website.

EcoScience Writers was funded by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government under the Local Agenda 21 Environmental Partnership Fund administered through Galway City Council.

For more information visit the EcoScience Writers website at www.ecosciencewriters.com.

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