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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 skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Working cooperatively with group members to carry out a plan
  • Analyzing and interpreting patterns in data
  • Communicating data effectively by using mathematical/statistical calculations
  • Identifying main themes
  • Displaying data in a variety of formats
  • Using a variety of sources and technologies to gather information
  • Responding to media text
  • Engaging in and responding to oral presentations

Relevant Curriculum Units

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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
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives 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.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:

Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view

Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed

Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position

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:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
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 the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Poor- there is no authentic action experience

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory

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

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

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:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning 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 Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
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.

Integrated Learning Good

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

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good

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

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

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 student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
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 included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  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.