Smart Living lessons – online!


Katja Laingui
Katja is the Education Operations Manager at the Aquarium Foundation. She gives support to the education team and the Foundation staff as a whole, with her attention to detail and project management skills. She also has a degree in sustainable development and one of her interests involves how to make people more interested in nature and the ecosystem services that we depend on. She is the author of the regular 'K's Kreature Feature' blog.

Adapting to the current world has been something that our teachers have had to do in the last few months. After more than 100 days of lockdown and working from home, our education staff have become pros at teaching our educational content online.

Through the kind sponsorship of the City of Cape Town, we were able to offer free lessons to five schools in the greater Cape Town area. A total of 441 children benefitted from this sponsorship.

Online lesson with Rouxville Primary, taught by our Deputy Head of Education, Bianca Engel 

The City’s four sustainability pillars are water, energy, biodiversity and waste. We are all encouraged to save water, but it is also important to understand where water comes from. Under energy, we investigate what energy is and how it is created. With waste it is all about minimising, recycling and composting. Cape Town’s landfill sites are filling at a rapid rate and alternatives for waste disposal are needed, otherwise we will need to open another landfill site somewhere soon. The main focus of our Smart Living lessons, however, is biodiversity.

Our expertise lies with marine ecosystems. Our teachers gave examples of some of the marine animals that live along our coastline as well as how they fit within a marine food chain. An important aspect of biodiversity is to know what the threats are. An easy way to remember and understand the threats is the acronym HIPPO, which stands for Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Population (of humans), Pollution and Overuse of resources. Waste is on of the Ps in HIPPO – pollution. Many of our marine animals are affected by plastic, whether it is through entanglement or because they ingested some. It is important to highlight these dangers, but also give practical solutions that all of us can do.


Online lesson with Yellowwood Primary, taught by our teacher Chanelle Naidoo 

Our lessons were well received. One of the principals had this to say:

“I cannot express enough how beautiful and valuable the lesson was this morning. Thank you! Just wow! Our kids loved every minute. Thank you for reminding us to do our bit to save our animals and our planet.” 

We have many lessons to choose from and all are available online. The current rate for an online lesson is R425 for a group of up to 35 children, or R500 for a group between 36 and 90 children. If you would like to book one of our lessons for your school, please contact Carrin on schools@aquariumfoundation.org.za