The Discover Primary Science and Maths (DPSM) programme at Science Foundation Ireland teamed up with Galway Atlantaquaria to explore seashore species, sustainability, and ocean conservation.

'Ocean Literacy' simply means understanding how the oceans influence us, as humans, and how we impact the oceans. Oceans cover two thirds of the planet and contain over 200,000 unique marine species with more yet to be discovered. Each of these species are important within their own habitats and have special adaptations to survive.

Oceans provide us with oxygen (produced by phytoplankton and algae) to breathe, they absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, and they contain many habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, mudflats, and rocky shores. We use oceans to transport goods, generate renewable energy and to source food.

In the DPSM STEM Series episode at the top of the article, Anna introduces us to some of the common species found on Irish shorelines, Padraic looks at sustainable seafood and the team offer some helpful tips on how you can protect the oceans.

Why not get outdoors and carry out your own exploration of the seashore? You can become a citizen scientist by recording what you find on

After watching our video why not?

  • Pick one species from this video and research their biology, habitats and predators/prey.
  • Write a poem, story, or draw a picture inspired by the ocean. - Investigate myths and legends surrounding the ocean.
  • Create a project based on ocean species in your classroom or at home. Create your own rocky shore poster, art project or school clean up group.
  • Investigate sustainability in relation to oceans e.g. investigations on food sustainability (food sources), human impacts on the oceans and solutions to these issues.
  • Set out on your own beach clean and document what you find. Even setting aside two minutes during your beach walk to pick up litter, prevents it from entering the ocean.

Explore marine litter e.g. ocean plastics and look at solutions to this.

Check out the Design & Make challenge:

Design a system to collect ocean plastics at the source.

1. Set up a large sheet of paper on the floor.

2. Draw out your school grounds, parks and local community areas.

3. Identify how litter might get into the ocean from each of these places.

4. Think up solutions to catch it along the way.

5. Even better – try to design alternatives to plastic packaging.

6. Do this as part of a team (3-4 students) and present to the class.

Send your creations into us at for a chance to feature on our social media channels. We love to see your work!

Use #DPSM to be featured on our Twitter page or email us at

Learn More

The Discover Primary Science and Maths programme promotes hands-on learning for students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in primary schools across the country.

For more free classroom resources, teacher CPD and to gain a DPSM Award for your school, check out or on social (Facebook and Twitter).

Galway Atlantaquaria based in Salthill, is part of the SFI Discover Centres Network and provides a range of DPSM-accredited programmes linked to the primary curriculum.

Learn more at where you will find more marine worksheets, videos and virtual lessons. This year marks the beginning of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030.

Other Useful Links Explore Your Shore (National Biodiversity Data Centre):

Irish Whale and Dolphin Group:

Irish Basking Shark Group:

Clean Coasts: Marine Litter

Marine Institute: Educational resources

STEM at Home (DPSM): STEM at Home

DPSM Classroom Activities: Classroom activities