Welcome to We share a sea. On this website you will find resources and ideas that can be used in 5th and 6th grade (students aged 11 to 13) on subjects like agriculture, plant nutrients, marine environment and environmentally friendly food. The material suits the curriculum in natural science, home economics and interdisciplinary courses with English and the national language.
Through We share a sea the students will acquire knowledge about where food comes from, and what difference the production methods make to the environment. In the Baltic region there is a high density of livestock, particularly in the West (Denmark) and on the Southern shores. Consequently, there is also a large production of manure, which has an impact on both the climate and the water environment. The large flow of nutrients from the manure through the agricultural system poses a serious risk of leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus into the water environment. One of the unfortunate consequences is a high risk of oxygen depletion and fish kills in the Baltic Sea.
These are complicated issues but We share a sea aims at making these complex matters accessible to students in 5th and 6th grade. Through the teaching material, they can gain both experience and understanding of the impact of food production and consumption on the environment. The assignments allow them to acquire knowledge and insight that will eventually enable them to act consciously as critical consumers.
The textbook We share a sea is the core element of the teaching material. It can be downloaded from this website in Danish, English, Lithuanian and in a near future also in a number of other languages. For the time being a Swedish, a Finnish, an Estonian and a German edition have been planned. The booklet is also available in print in both Danish an Lithuanian. It might also be printed in your national language. Please, contact The Ecological Council in Denmark for further information.
We share a sea is a fictional story about Simon who has just started going to a new school, where his new classmates and teachers talk a lot about food and ‘a diet for a clean Baltic’. Simon thinks it sounds a bit silly, but he and his classmates get a fascinating assignment. They are to go on a mission to find out how the food they eat is related to the marine environment of the Baltic Sea. They travel widely. They visit a farmer and a fisherman. They get a big bag of fish and they also get vegetables they can cook themselves using the principles of ‘a diet for a clean Baltic’.
The academic content
In spite of being a fictional story We Share a Sea is relevant in both science and home economics. It can help giving students an insight into important phenomena having to do with plant growth, livestock, food and farming as well as the marine environment. Using the material allows them to develop language, thoughts and ideas that will enable them to understand and discuss these issues and the relationship between them.
Science themes in We share a sea:
- Photosynthesis and plant growth
- Nutrients and nutrient cycles
- Leaching of nutrients from arable land
- Organic farming and food production
- Oxygen depletion and fish mortality
- Environmentally friendly food
We suggest that the students do as Simon and his classmates and go to see for themselves how farmers produce the food and to learn about the fishermen´s experience with water pollution. It is obvious to combine the lessons in class with field trips for example to an organic farm, a fishing harbour and to a store or market. In order to have the full benefit of the excursions, students should prepare for the visits. For this purpose they can download three sets of questions for the farmer, the fisherman and for the consumers. Find the question sheets under “Assignments”. Alternatively you may ask the students to prepare questions of their own.
Subsequently, the answers and information from the field trips could serve as a starting point for discussions in class and for written assignments.
Read & understand
The booklet We share a sea can be used to develop the students´ reading skills. Under “Assignments” you will find some simple comprehension questions supporting the reading.
Under “Assignments” you will also find guidelines for five experiments that can be conducted in science class or even in outdoor school if you have access to suitable facilities. The five experiments are known from other textbooks for this age group, but on this website they are combined and presented in a particular way so that they support the story and its aim. However, you can select the experiments you find relevant and exclude others, or you can add experiments of your own to support the theme as you like.
Experiments for download:
- Growth experiment: examination of what the quantity of manure means to plant growth. The students gain an understanding of why the farmer uses fertiliser or manure in the field.
- Experiment with nutrients in water: Study of the effect of the fertiliser on samples of seawater. The students get to understand what happens when nutrients end up in the marine environment.
- Examination by microscope of plankton: Students learn at firsthand which kind of aquatic organisms will be affected by nutrients initially.
- Dissection of a fish: Examination of a fish – especially the gills. The students become acquainted with the fish’s anatomy and physiology and understand how fish breathe.
- Make you own oxygen depletion: Experiments with decomposition of organic material in an aquarium with and without oxygen.
Recipes – Diet for a clean Baltic
In order to get a real life experience of what it means to eat environmentally friendly the children should combine the science assignments with cookery classes and prepare healthy food in accordance with the guidelines for “Diet for a Clean Baltic” as developed by BERAS Implementation project.
Guidelines for “Diet for a clean Baltic”
- Local produce whenever possible
- Organic produce whenever possible
- Min. 80 pct. vegetables
- Max. 20 pct. animal produce
On this website you will find the recipe from the booklet: Fried fish with carrot salad and healthy fries and the vegetarian dish Beetroot burgers with celery tzatziki.
Sharing with others
We urge you and your class to develop your own Clean Baltic Recipes and share them on this website. Don’t hesitate to send us both recipes and photos. You may also write us about your experience with this teaching material, share how-to-do videos on Facebook and send us the link as well as guidelines for further experiments. If your input is in line with the purpose of We share a sea, we will be happy to post your material on this website.
Furthermore, if you think it could be rewarding to cooperate with schools in other countries around the Baltic Sea you can send us an email, and we will try to find a relevant cooperation partner.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Att. We share a sea/Ulla Skovsbøl
Recommended reading for the teacher:
Granstedt, Artur: “Farming for the Future – with a focus on Baltic Sea Region”, Beras Implementation Reports no 2. 2012. Download here
Eurostat statistics on livestock in EU: