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Debris Dilemma

Middle

Description

This resource uses a video lesson, a fast-paced interactive game, and a group activity to highlight the ongoing problems that plastics and other forms of garbage create for marine environments and the animals that live there.

After watching a powerful video produced by Jean-Michel Cousteau, called "Trash On the Spin Cycle", students discover what causes huge quantities of land-based garbage to end up in one of the most remote parts of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. It encourages individuals and communities to recycle plastics, bottles and cans to reduce the amount of solid waste headed to landfills and into our waterways.

One post-video activity is a web-based game called "Kure Waste Chase", in which students are environmental heroes ridding the island of Kure of dangerous debris while at the same time learning about the ecosystems they are trying to save. Playing the role of a volunteer on an ocean adventures team, students visit the beaches of Kure Atoll(on ATVs), the surface water surrounding the atoll (on Zodiacs), and underwater coral reefs neighboring the atoll(with SCUBA gear) . They score points for collecting garbage, but also complete location data sheets, marine data sheets, and species data sheets. The collected data is analyzed, put into Venn Diagrams and compiled in a report. Students are then asked to write a story on the "life cycle of marine debris" and present it to the class as a skit or through illustrations.

In the culminating activity "You Are What You Eat- Plastics and Marine Life", students examine how plastics are used in everyday life, study the different types of plastic, and perform an activity which shows how the feeding areas of marine animals (surface, pelagic, and benthic) are affected by different types of plastic.

Lessons include discussion questions, handouts, data collection sheets, and teacher answer keys.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • Interactive game is both fun and educational
  • Links are relevant to the topic and appropriate to both the teacher and student
  • The video is powerful, encourages empathy, and is an authentic case study
  • Handouts and data collection sheets are well organized and easy to use
  • Vocabulary links are student friendly with good illustrations
  • Group work allows for shared dialogue and incidental teaching
  • Interactive game has very good background information for teachers
  • There are many educational links to the video
  • Lessons are well organized and easy to follow

Weaknesses

  • No authentic action experience provided
  • Assessment tools are lacking
  • No accommodations are suggested to assist struggling readers

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • The oceans support a great diversity of both life and ecosystems
  • By protecting the oceans, we protect ourselves
  • The beauty and power of the ocean should be celebrated
  • Although the ocean is large, it is finite and its resources are limited
  • Your actions influence the health of the global water systems
  • Individual and collective actions are needed to effectively manage ocean resources for all

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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  • Alberta
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        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
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        • Earth and Space Science: Water Systems on Earth
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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (2)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Interdependence
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Waste Management (3)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Good

A positive biased towards the importance of decreasing land-based garbage from entering marine ecosystems exists. Students gather facts and information and draw their own conclusions.

Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

The resource links the environmental issue of human impacts on marine ecosystems with consumer choices and waste disposal techniques used by society. Decreasing these impacts requires lifestyle choices to change and has financial implications.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Good

Although not examining all aspects of the issue, it promotes dialogue and the exploration of issues through video, class discussions, interactive games and group activities.

Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Poor/Not considered

Poor- there is no authentic action experience

Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Satisfactory

Although not explicitly taught, the activities, research games and video clip may motivate students to take action. Students do learn to work cooperatively, write reports on research and collaborate on results.

Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory

The possible destruction of marine habitats could have implications for humans. This builds empathy for those who live near and around the North Pacific Hawaiian islands.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good

Although no practical out-of doors experience is included in the lesson, the resource does encourage a personal affinity with non-humans and the Earth. The video is powerful and compelling and will certainly build empathy for those marine creatures and ecosystems that are affected by human impacts.

Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Good

This resource has local focus as all households make decisions about consumption and waste-disposal practices. It could encourage them to be even more vigilant in their waste sorting/recycling practices.

Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory

Present day situations are observed and evaluated with students encouraged to play a role in implementing solutions. The future is seen as positive if students begin to promote and model change.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory

Students are able to discover some of the answers on their own, although often steered in the 'right' direction by the teacher.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Good

Although primary a science lesson, learning opportunities are also included for math, art and language arts.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Good

Both the powerful video clip and the interactive game are unique learning experiences.

Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Satisfactory

The resource does give students some opportunities to do self-reflection and identify their values.

Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

Activities that teach to both the cognitive and affective domains are included. No suggestions are given for differentiated instruction or accommodation for struggling learners/readers. Some changes would be required for the report following the Kure Waste Chase game. Appropriate grouping could help with some of these issues.

Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

Poor- Although previewing, viewing and post-viewing questions are provided, no rubrics or suggestions are provided for assessment especially with the Kure Waste Chase report, and the You Are What You Eat plastics activity. Asseesment tools must be developed by the teacher.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

The video clip is a powerful & visual case study. Many more are found via links.

Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Satisfactory

Although the resource is quite specific with regards to program content and the medium in which they work, students do have opportunities in post lesson activities and resource links to delve deeper into issues of they choose.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.