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Life Below Water

Marine Litter

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

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.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Skills are not explicitly taught in this lesson.

Strengths

  • The lesson does a good job connecting a current and urgent problem with the students' own experiences.
  • The lesson provides the tools necessary to examine marine plastics through a 'systems' lens.
  • The lesson supports the UN's sustainable development goals.
  • The learning is largely student driven.
  • The resource provides all the information & support material required to complete the activities.

Weaknesses

  • Relevant case studies have not been included.
  • Student ideas for action are limited to discussion, not implementation
  • Experiential learning opportunities are largely missing.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

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.

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
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 12
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Human Geography 12: Demographic patterns and population distribution are influenced by physical features and natural resources
        • Social Justice: The causes of social injustice are complex and have lasting impacts on society
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
    • Grade 12
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Poverty, Wealth and Power
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Social Justice and Human Rights
        • Global Issues
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Sustainability of Ecosystems
    • Grade 12
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120: Geopolitics
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 1202: Natural and Human Systems
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Ocean Environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
    • Grade 12
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Challenge and Change in Society (Univ. Prep.) Global Social Challenges
        • Equity and Social Justice: From Theory to Practice (Univ./College Prep.) Addressing Equity and Social Justice Issues
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 421A: Sustainability of Ecosystems
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 5
    • Grade 10
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      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Applied Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
        • Science & Technology:The Living World
        • Science and the Environment: The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Human Geography 12: Demographic patterns and population distribution are influenced by physical features and natural resources

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Habitat Loss
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
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:
  • 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 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.

  • 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

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

  • 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 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

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.  

  • 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

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. 

  • 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
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 Good

Students are provided with factual information to consider.  The complexity of the problem and the challenges it presents are accurately represented.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

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

  • 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 Satisfactory

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.   

  • 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

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.

  • 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 Poor/Not considered
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

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.

  • 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

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.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

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.

  • 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 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.