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This resource examines the problem of plastics in the world’s oceans and directs students to consider individual changes they can make to help reduce the damage being caused.
The lesson begins by drawing attention to the UN’s Sustainability Global Goal 14 and the many reasons why it is essential that we adopt a sustainable approach in our use of the earth’s marine resources. Using images and information bulletins provided in the lesson, students explore the amount of plastic in our oceans, the sources and pathways it takes, the specific problems plastic pollution is creating and the consequences that the continued use of plastics holds for the future.
As a culminating activity, students consider achievable actions they can take individually and collectively to address marine plastic pollution. To begin this discussion, a number of upstream and downstream solutions are provided for consideration along with a sample of successful student-driven projects. Students are then asked to consider their own routine encounters with plastics on a daily basis and how they might be contributing to the problem. Once they have identified a number of their own non-essential uses of plastics, students communicate the specific problems that can result from these behaviors and commit to alternative choices going forward.
Skills are not explicitly taught in this lesson.
The lesson will support the teaching of those science and geography outcomes in grades 8 through 10 relating to marine ecosystems, pollution and human impact on the environment. The resource will also serve as an effective classroom tool to support World Oceans Day.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
The lesson is largely based on the students' assessments of factual information and on reflecting upon their own behaviors.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The information provided to students by the resource supports a systems analysis of plastics in the world's oceans.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The complexity of the interplay of economic, social and environmental factors is respected
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Students spend a significant amount of time exploring possible actions but implementation is not supported or required.
|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
|Values Education||Very Good|
Much attention is paid to requiring the students to view and assess issues surrounding the use of plastics in terms of their own experience.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
|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|
Students reflect on the environmental consequences of plastic pollution and on their own role as contributors to the problem and the solution.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The activities in the lesson do a good job in connecting the students directly and personally to the issue.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are provided with factual information to consider. The complexity of the problem and the challenges it presents are accurately represented.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
While the resource is most likely to be used to support science curriculum, there are topics relating to social studies and geography represented in the activities.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Students are provided with information that they interpret and respond to. A lot of the learning is student-driven.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Content is provided in a number of formats but the resource relies heavily on reading, listening and responding.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Poor/Not considered|
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Individual, small and large group organization are used to complete the activities in the lesson.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Suggestions for assessment and evaluation are not included.
|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.|
Students share their action ideas with classmates.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Poor/Not considered|
Case studies are not included with this resource
|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|
Students are given some flexibility in formulating action ideas and they are provided with support for further investigation.
|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.|