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An Educator's Guide to Marine Environments is a three lesson guide that helps educates students about the need and strategies for protecting the marine environment. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NAMEPA has created An Educator’s Guide to Marine Debris to provide educators with a tool to help students become more informed on marine debris and encourage environmental stewardship.
Lesson 1: This activity introduces students to the processes that break marine debris plastic down into small sizes: photo degradation and mechanical degradation. Students assess where particulates are suspended in the water column (premade plastic slurry). Next,the slurry is mixed into a tub of water that is designed to mimic seawater and students take samples to assess the amount, size,and type of the particulates. Students relate this activity to what they might actually find in the ocean. They will assess the difficulties of sampling and the limitations of the activity. Students are evaluated by their explanations of the abundance of plastic in the oceans and assessment of potential impact of plastic micro-debris to the health of marine ecosystems.
Lesson 2: After listening to a presentation on marine debris and disposable culture, students examine and discuss data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Report from 2012. After gaining a better understanding of types and volumes of waste discarded in the U.S. and how much of that is recovered, students get into groups and create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) designed to educate the public about single-use plastics and mitigating marine debris.
Lesson 3: After a short PowerPoint presentation about disposable culture and marine debris that includes actual products (packaging, water bottles, etc.), students examine their own lives to see what they’re throwing away. Using the NAMEPA Trash Tracker form, students record their waste for two weeks (time may vary). The first week, students record the items they throw away without changing their normal behavior. The second week, students attempt to reduce the waste they throw away and compare their data from each week. This lesson gives students insight into what they are most commonly throwing away and encourages them to reduce their waste.
This easy-to-use guide is designed to provide maximum flexibility for educators in both formal and informal settings. It may be used as a standalone teaching tool, or to supplement lessons in other areas.
Students will learn to collect and analyze micro-debris samples, represent data, create a public service announcement, and compare data.
This resource would be excellent to introduce the idea of the effect of human behaviour on the marine environment and its ecosystem.
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||Very Good|
Through presentations and discoveries, students discover the problem of plastic in the oceans. They form their own opinions and take an informed position on the topic.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
Throughout these 3 lessons, students clearly discover how the three dimensions are connected in the problem of plastic in the oceans.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
While producing a Public Service Announcement, students take ownership in producing change.
|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|
All lessons provide students with the ability to discuss their opinions, beliefs and values around the issue.
|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 in this resource.
|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|
This resource concentrates on the plastic in the oceans. Students will foster an appreciation for the natural world, however all learning happens inside the classroom.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
This resource mostly uses data from the US. Students do get to do an inventory of their own plastic consumption with will be relevant to them.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
All three of the activities provided in this resource allow for students to explore the issue and develop their understanding of marine debris.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
If is clear that some Science outcomes, in terms of ecology, and some Math outcomes, with some data collection and analysis, are covered in this resource.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The variety of the three lessons will address the needs of visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. However, there are no strategies for learners with difficulties included in this resource.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students take part in a simulation of what plastics look like in the ocean.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students will need to work in groups for most of the lessons.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
Some evaluation ideas are provided within the resource.
|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||Very Good|
Students will provide a public service announcement to educate on how we can reduce the impact of single use plastics.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|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||Very Good|
When producing the public service announcement, students have full control of the content they want to include and what medium they want to use.
|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.|