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Apr 12
Cambridge Elementary students dive into science

SCUBA diving Cambridge Elem lg group.jpg

Students from Cambridge Elementary had barely taken a seat at South Surrey Indoor Pool when they were faced with their first question: If you held a glass of air and a glass of water, which one would be heavier?

"Water!" the students answered in unison.

It was an easy question, followed by one that was a little trickier: Why?

"Because there are more particles in water," they reply, much to relief of their teacher, Dave Morrison.

SCUBA Cambridge -DaveMorrison.jpgMorrison has been teaching the Grade 6/7 students about the particle model, density, mass, pressure, buoyancy and more during science lessons for several weeks. On this day, the kids will learn to scuba dive, showing them they can use their knowledge in the real world.

The students received the pre-dive briefing and safety talk from professional diving instructor Shannon Kozak from Ocean Pro Divers before hitting the pool.

Before diving in, it's essential they understand why they may feel pressure in their "air spaces," like sinuses and lungs, and not in other parts of the body. They must also know when and how to equalize that pressure.

"Blow air out your nose. Yawn. Ascend slowly," the students offer.

Most importantly, says Kozak, "Always breathe and never hold your breath!"

A review of hand signals and the students are ready for the water. They don their gear – air tanks, regulators, masks, snorkels, BCD's (buoyancy control devices) – and learn the ropes in shallow water until they're able to fully submerge, eventually graduating to the deep end of the pool. The smiles when they do surface are evidence this is the chance of a lifetime for many of the students.

"They learn so much more when it's hands-on like this," says Morrison, a longtime scuba diver whose program is believed to be the only one of its kind in B.C.

Over two weeks, all the Grade 6 and 7 students at Cambridge will have similar sessions at the pool.

Upon completion of the program, students receive a "Discover Scuba" certificate and can use their introductory training as part of their full certification training, if they wish.

SCUBA diving Cambridge Elem one-on-one.jpgSCUBA diving Cambridge Elem underwater.jpg

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