Kid Friendly Workshop

Explore on land or under the sea!

Scientists have developed an interesting way to combat coral bleaching, a technique called coral farming. Scuba divers take small samples of coral and bring them up to the surface, letting them grow in professional aquariums. Upon growing to a slightly larger size, divers will take these baby corals back under the ocean to coral farms and plant them. Under the water, they grow for a longer period of time and once they reach a certain age, the divers will come back, uproot them, and take them to a coral reef that desperately needs a healthy coral colony.
There are two types of farms: a volleyball net style, where divers string long pieces of rope between two buoys and then hanging the coral from the rope; and the tree style, where PVC pipe trees are constructed under the water and then coral is hung off the branches by fishing line. The activity below is an example of the second style of farming.


This activity can be done in or out of the water.

Step 1

Gathering Supplies
The following materials will be for a SINGLE set. Only two or three people can work on one set at the same time.

  • One 2 feet PVC pipe, with a diameter of ¾ inch, three sets of holes drilled into the side: one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle. This is the trunk.

  • Three 20-inch PVC pipe, with a diameter of ¼ inch. These are your branches, they must be able to fit through the holes drilled into the trunk.

  • A slice of pool noodle about 6 inches across.

  • Two pieces of rope at least 2 feet long.

  • A spool of fishing line.

  • Scissors.

  • Objects that can be used as "pretend" coral fragments, such as shells.

  • A dive weight with two slits in the middle that one of the pieces of rope can be tied around.

Step 2

Before You Begin

Prior to the workshop, prep the “coral fragments” by tying fishing line to the objects. Cut a length of fishing line and hold it up to the “coral”. Create a loop with the “coral” in the center of the loop, leaving one end of the line much longer than the other. Twist the two ends of the line around each other. Take one tail-end of the twist and stick it through the loop, pulling tight. This should allow the “coral” piece to dangle from the line.
During the activity, you will take the end of the line that is not tied to the “coral” and attach it to the branches of the coral tree using the same techniques used to attach the “coral”.

Step 3

Building the Tree

Take one of the lengths of rope and tie it around the weight making a large loop. Stick one part of the loop into the bottom of the trunk, clearing the holes. Push one of the branches through the holes, catching the rope as it goes through and anchoring it. This will keep the trunk from floating to the surface.
With the second piece of rope, tie the piece of pool noodle as if it was a bead hanging on a piece of string. Again, stick part of the rope into the top of the trunk, clearing the upper most holes. A second branch should be used to keep it in place, fitting the branch through the holes and the rope. This will keep your tree upright under the water.
The final branch may be inserted into the last set of holes.

Step 4

Hanging the Coral

With the “coral” pieces already on fishing line, take the line and drape it over one of the two upper branches, either the one holding the pool noodle or the one right below it. Cross the two ends of the line, creating a loop. Take the two ends and twist them around each other, keeping the branch within the loop. The tail-end of the line without the “coral” hanging off it must now be put through the loop and then both ends should be pulled tightly.

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