HEALTHY AND CLEAN SEAS WITHOUT PLASTICS

AUTHOR(S)

IRENA RIBINSKIENĖ – Physics teacher, IB Diploma physics teacher, Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium, Lithuania

PROJECT TEAM:

ANTONIETTA AMORE -Mathematics and Physics teacher, Liceo linguistico “Ilaria Alpi”- Cesena, Italy

EFTYCHIA KONSTANTINIDOU-Geology, Chemistry, Biology teacher, gymnasium of Anthousa, Greece

LINA PETRAŠKIENĖ – English teacher, Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium, Lithuania

SILVA SEVERI – English teacher, Liceo linguistico “Ilaria Alpi”- Cesena, Italy

VIRGINIJA SVINKŪNIENĖ – History teacher, Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium, Lithuania

ABSTRACT

Marine plastic pollution is a complex problem and there is no simple solution and every one of us has a part to play. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest environmental problems of our age, it threatens all living beings in the seas. This project aims to raise awareness about the impacts of plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea, to understand the causes of this problem and to develop (or, at least, to discuss) possible solutions. We must shift the education paradigm to focus on scientific literacy, real-time systemic solutions, and innovations for the future. Solving plastic pollution, among other environmental issues, by a commitment to preparing youth to take on the challenges ahead:  it focuses on changing student’s perceptions of plastic as a resource and increasing student’s understanding of the complexities of the issue.

KEYWORDS

Career, Plastics, Citizenship, Mobile Learning, Pollution

KEY COMPETENCES

Competence in science, technology and engineering;

Digital competence;

Cultural awareness and expression competence;

Multilingual competence;

AIMS OF THE PROJECT/THE AIMS

  •  To improve the understanding of the ocean, raise awareness and drives issue of marine litter and plastic pollution.
  •  To involve students in the study of plastic pollution in the Baltic Sea and to find solutions, starting with their living environment.
  • To familiarize students with different kinds of bioplastic.
  • To develop the school curricula by performing interdisciplinary activities focused on promoting interdisciplinary teaching and give students a chance to discuss the concept of science about ocean pollution through the prism of three chosen role models.
  • Learn about different kinds of careers with STEAM (IT) online sessions with scientists.

INTERDISCIPLINARY OBJECTIVES/ SUBJECTS

Citizenship, History, Italian, English as Second Language, Geography, Physics

INTEGRATION INTO THE CURRICULUM

This interdisciplinary project is linked to the cross curricular topic of healthy and clean seas without plastics, related to the categories of the Sea Pollution (Physics, Chemistry, Economics, English language), focused on using a real-world interdisciplinary approach to education. In order to prepare the next generation to take on the challenges of marine plastic pollution. It also focuses on the design, production and consumption stages of waste management.

TRENDS/Trends Students as Creators

Mobile learning- is a new way to access learning content using mobile devices.

Project-based Learning – students put the spotlight on real world problems.

Cooperative Learning –  a strong focus on group work – students work in small groups to accomplish a common learning goal.

Problem-based Learning – students can learn while engaging actively with meaningful problems.

Inquiry-based Learning – students’ curiosity about a problem, related to the questions, reflect on the results.

Content and Language Integrated Learning – in CLIL students learn a subject and a second language at the same time.

STEAM Learning: Increased focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Physics, Mathematics subjects in the curriculum. Students become more active producers and publishers of Ocean pollution educational resources.

21st Century Skills

Critical and creative thinking: develop a good understanding of how plastics enter the oceans and the extent of the problem of marine pollution, as well as different approaches to tackling the problem, finding connections with ocean in their daily life;

Information literacy and media literacy: students have to search digital information on sites and use them correctly;

Collaboration: students have to collaborate in the projecting and building of posters in the eTwinning platform;

Communication: students have to express their opinions about ocean pollution by plastics, being effective and polite and respecting others’ ideas and points of view.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES

Continuing our activities, we involved students and teachers from Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium, Lithuania https://jotvingiugimnazija.lt/, gymnasium of Anthousa, Greece https://blogs.sch.gr/gymanthous and Liceo Linguistico “Ilaria Alpi” di Cesena, Italy https://www.liceoalpi.edu.it/

INTRODUCTION

Working in partnership with schools from Italy and Greece on Etwinning platform seek to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the marine environment. Students learn about the journey of plastics with class by to navigating a series of online films. Using set of resources students learn about the journey of plastic pollution from different sources as it travels through our rivers and into our ocean. We organized activities: discussions, forums, online meetings.  Students focused on the study and understanding of plastic pollution routes, the impact on marine ecosystems and new pollution monitoring and removal technologies. Students also relied on various aspects of the functioning of the green economy from a circular economy perspective.

 In addition, contributions made to the development of 21st-century skills. Students develop English language (CLIL) and public speaking skills, deepen their knowledge of plastic pollution. This initiative encourages students to actively learn, improve their communication skills, and provide an opportunity to gain more in-depth knowledge and skills about the ocean, starting with their social environment. On the gymnasium page, we created a network for the dissemination of good practice.

Alytus jotvingiai gymnasium- EU Blue School

In cooperation with universities and NBS Experts, we organized STEAM career events. The lecture “My perfect career with STEAM in Blue Ocean” was given by VilniusTech University Environmental and Water Engineering doc. dr. Professor Marina Valentukevičienė. The aim is to encourage the younger generation in the 21st century challenges, to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, to acquaint students appropriately with the opportunities of STEAM career professions. STEAM career event with NBS expert Cristina Calheiros, Netherlands (Leading Professional in Water Resilient Cities at RHDHV. NBS expert Natascha Wahlberg, Career Sheet: Co-founder Environmental Cooperative. Students were actively interested in various fields and asked questions about water issues.  The aim of the meeting was to interest the students and deepen their knowledge about climate change, research on climate reduction to reduce water pollution.

STEAM career event with NBS Experts

Students play an active role in all stages of the project: they conducted research on micro plastic particles in cosmetics, listened to lectures, participated in open discussions with world scientists, and prepared STEAM (IT) career posters.

Find the Blue

DISCUSSION AND BRAINSTORMING

Students work in groups and individually analyse postcard images. Group discussions allow students to share their individual analysis with the group, and the class discussion of the analysis summaries allows students to demonstrate how they now have critical lenses as tools for developing visual literacy about ocean pollution.

Teamwork: Students construct their explanations based on evidence, by using data, imagination and logic, and the feedback on emerging explanations that comes from peer review. Each team has to solve the other groups’ challenges and give and receive peer-feedback to improve their work.

Students share their final product, and get to vote on which postcard seems most interesting to them. It links up to schools’ awareness career week, and it gives the students something to think about as they consider universities and career readiness.

Students have to collaborate in the projecting and building of the timeline, project logo and posters; 

 Students have to express their opinions about pollution, being effective and polite and respecting others’ ideas and points of view.

Students work in groups and individually analyse five scientist postcard images. Group discussions allow students to share their individual analysis with the group, and the class discussion of the analysis summaries allows students to demonstrate how they now have critical lenses as tools for developing visual literacy.

Project logo

MAKING CONNECTIONS

First Networking Event: Teachers committed to engaging students in single-use plastics reduction projects meet to exchange ideas, learn more about the issues and get an opportunity to troubleshoot project implementation with colleagues from different schools.

Second  Networking Event: Teachers invited students on the eTwinning platform to present about themselves, their hobbies and interest in the project.http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=2548

Third Networking Event: student’s live event on 12th April at 11.10 a.m.

The event focused on examining and understanding the paths of plastic pollution, the impact on marine ecosystems, and new technologies for observation a and removal. Students also referred to different sectors of the blue economy, in a circular economy perspective and speeded a message of active citizenship.

After watching the video “A plastic ocean”, our aim was to spread creatively the message containing hat we learned about ocean’s plastic pollution.

Understanting and acting for a healthy plastic free sea

Event programme:

https://www.liceoalpi.edu.it/public/articoli/allegati/1/circ.n.226_liveeventprogramme12april2022.pdf

Link to the video recording of the event: https://youtu.be/mGZfoBqvOLQ

Liceo Alpi students from Class 4D were joined by the eTwinning partners from schools:http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=2730

GROUP WORK

First, students from all three countries were divided into groups, with each group tasked with creating a project logo. By participating in the forums, students voted and chose the most favourite logo for our project.

Students have watched a documentary ‘A Plastic Ocean’. After that they have discussed their reactions in groups:

‘The movie we watched showed how much people litter. It’s really upsetting, because the pollution is harming our planet badly. The thing that hurt us the most in the movie was that it showed various animals, such as turtles, whales or birds eating trash and dying from it. It also showed such a cruel thing – microplastics were found in the autopsy of birds.’

‘In the last 10 years, we made more plastic than we did in a century before that. Most of that rubbish ends up in oceans and is the reason why some whales and other water animals die.’

Proposals for reduction of plastics:

  • Avoid single-use plastics such as drinking straws.
  • If you go shopping, remember to take a cloth bag.
  • Buy more bulk food and fewer packaged products.
  • Replace plastic Tupperware for glass or steel containers.
  • To start from yourself because even a small change can make a big difference.

For the start, everyone should stop using plastic bottles, bags, and straws and get the reusable ones.

A Plastic Ocean

ACTIVITY 1

After watching the documentary film “A Plastic Ocean”, our aim is to creatively spread the message containing what we learned about ocean’s plastic pollution.

Task- to develop 6 sections with the agreed themes in the provided Canva model.

The work must be carried out in groups and at the end of each section all the names of the students of the international teams must be reported.

https://twinspace.etwinning.net/files/collabspace/1/81/581/209581/files/c6ab6657e.p

ACTIVITY 2

Students will be given new insights into plastic and polymers. Students analyse video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yog7qmGZIlQ

about plastic pollution, identifies biopolymers and investigates biopolymers, explain what polymers are, their characteristics, give examples of polymers, explain the phenomenon of plastic pollution, its causes and effects – provide solutions to related problems in their context. Students are given a handout with the main ideas of the video and asked to complete the handout and write down in the table the phrases used to talk about polymers. Students are asked to review the video again and take notes on the following issues: formation, location, perils and solutions. Class discussion follows where new vocabulary is also highlighted and explained using CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) This means studying another subject (for example, science, history, or literature) and learning a language, such as English, at the same time — integrating the two subjects.

ACTIVITY 3

Experiment: Students are invited to collect their plastic garbage for a week-long activity. After a week the students measure and weigh the garbage they produced and collected, identifying the types of plastics by conventional signs, expressing their opinions on what could people do to produce less garbage and what each student can contribute to it.

PLASTIC INVESTIGATOR- PLASTIC ITEMS FOUND AROUND THE HOMECHECK YOUR UNDERSTANDING:

  • Study the interactive diagram to learn about the different types of plastic, and then the
  • Plastic Investigator Record Sheet.
  • Try to find an example of each around the house. You can use the resin codes to help you, and you can also think about the examples given on the diagram.
  • Read more about each of the different types of plastic and see if these descriptions match with the objects that you have found.
  • Did you find any secret plastics hiding out in your home? If you discovered something surprising, why not post a photo of it on Instagram?

 In this activity students develop problem-solving skills about positive learning habits as an organizational and ecological aspect about reducing plastics in the home. After online meetings with NBS Expert, students became acquainted with STEAM (IT) careers in climate engineering. The science community has now confirmed that micro plastics have been found in human blood and farm animals. New studies now also confirm that plastic pollution could “make much of humanity infertile.” What will it take for a greater percentage of the population to make appropriate decisions about the use and sorting of plastics.

Plastic in our lives

ACTIVITY 4 – COMMUNITY SURVEY

 Pollution of plastics. How do I contribute to reducing pollution?

During the project, members of the Blue School team conducted a community survey. We share the findings.

Most respondents knew how to label recyclable plastics.

98% of respondents knew that plastic is harmful to the environment.

77% say that unsorted rubbish and plastic bags do the most damage to the environment.

Most feel the need to give up plastic bags.

Almost all respondents say they contribute to the reduction of plastic pollution: by using reusable bags, sorting.

Respondents (69.3%) know that plastic does not degrade for a very long time after entering the water and breaks into smaller and smaller particles when exposed to environmental conditions, thus allowing them to be ingested by marine organisms.

COMMUNITY SURVEY

STEAM CAREER TOGETHER WITH VILNIUSTECH

A STEAM career event was held for Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium students to develop the competencies required for a STEAM career. The event was attended by second-graders. The lecture “My perfect career with STEAM in Blue Ocean” was given by VilniusTech University Environmental and Water Engineering doc. dr. Professor Marina Valentukevičiene. The aim of the meeting is to encourage the younger generation in the 21st century challenges, to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, to acquaint students appropriately with the opportunities of STEAM career professions.http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=2609

My perfect career with STEAM in Blue Ocean

EUROPE IS A CLIMATE-NEUTRAL CONTINENT. MISSION POSSIBLE?

The team of the Blue School of Jotvingiai Gymnasium in Alytus participated in a lesson with Evelina Norkaitiene, an employee of the European Information Center, “Europe is a climate-neutral continent. Mission possible?”. Environmental topics have been the subject of much and frequent discussion recently. The European Green Course and the goal of becoming the first continent to have a climate-neutral effect is also one of the European Commission’s top priorities. Climate change and environmental degradation pose an existential threat to Europe and the world. To meet these challenges, Europe needs a new growth strategy to make the Union a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. The European Green Course is a guideline for action to ensure the sustainability of the EU economy. The EU aims to be green, humane and digital. At the end of the lesson, students competed in a SLIDO game.

http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=2443

STEAM (IR) Career Event

ONLINE DISCUSSION WITH NBS EXPERT: Natascha Wahlberg, Career Sheet: Co-founder Environmental Cooperative. Aims: to provide students and teachers with a more informed view of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) by providing NBS job profiles.” My advice to students is to study something that you are passionate about that motivates you and leads you to work (as freelance or for someone else’s) in things that allow you to continue growing as a professional. And above all, not be afraid of failure”.

PEER- FEEDBACK AND REMAKE

A great opportunity for students for collaboration is presented through for debate. Chat dissuasion connection be made between partner schools debate with groups from each school collaborating and representing the same opinions. It is highly valuable to hear the opinions of pupils from other parts of schools. Students also offer further examples of how the problem of plastic is being tackled in their country or locality from their own experiences for comparison.

Students share their final product, and get to vote on which career seems most interesting to them. It links up to our school awareness career week, and it gives the students something to think about as they consider to universities and career readiness.

STUDENTS’ FEEDBACK

Students believe that science is all about dramatic discovery, rather than generating knowledge and creating explanations through repetitive work and the painstaking collection of evidence.
STEAM(IT) Career Profile

TEACHERS’ REMARKS

The promotion of Baltic sea and ocean conservation was considered, for the purposes of the project- a matter of changing human behaviour that can only be achieved through fostering a different frame of mind, a new ethos, and a new culture. These latter aspects are only achievable if built from a very early age and emphasized multiple times through someone’s life. The key aim of the project was therefore to provide the teaching community with a complete educational kit on marine pollution, allowing teachers and pupils to investigate marine pollution issues in school, and outdoors, in interactive, creative, and experimental ways, assisted by innovative pedagogical Information and Communication Technology tools. Teachers may evaluate student progress through individual and group works and discussions, as well as with students’ completed worksheets for all images. Eventually, each student ends up with a scientist and a partner in the class. Materials and tools can be used while designing lessons to address real-life problems and STE(A)M careers. We have created STEAM activities that enable students to engage and develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of curriculum relevant content.

OUTCOME OF THE PROJECT

Reducing our plastic footprint remains the best option, for those items we cannot always avoid or refuse to buy. It’s time to change our habits, learn to love and reinvent our wardrobes, and adopt more sustainable alternatives and a more circular approach when it comes to plastic.

Additionally, contextualising STE(A)M Careers in the classroom students organise in the schools a scientific STEAM(IT) Career exhibition about “Plastic pollution” to publish their Challenges about Career.

The online interactions with STEAM(IT) Career scientists allowed students to view scientists as approachable and to begin to understand the range of scientific areas and careers that exist.

Our understanding of the issues with plastic pollution needs to spread even further, so we also continue to raise awareness in schools, with industry and STEAM Career to preventing plastic pollution. We created online education material, games and tools to promote the environmental awareness and consciousness in 15-17 year-old students, as a priority age group, and within the educational community. The interacting scientific and pedagogical approaches were applied in European context to educate students in the different international schools. Addressing environmental sustainability at sea inevitably involves the social learning process at school, posing its own specific challenges to achieving learning goals. Solving environmental problems requires collaboration between different groups at different levels, including individuals, communities, experts. Such an approach is one of the cornerstones of critical environmental education based on community involvement.

http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=2656

http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=2397

http://steam.jotvingiugimnazija.lt/?p=238

DISSEMINATING

https://twinspace.etwinning.net/files/collabspace/1/81/581/209581/files/c6ab6657e.pdf

CANVA COLLABORATIVE PROJECT

Creating a collaborative magazine FINAL OUTCOME PAGE

The communication actions of the project – the final products such as ebook-magazine, videos and the creation of STEAM (IT) career posters will be shared in our schools’ sites and through social media.

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About iribinsjiene

Physics Teacher, International Baccalaureate IB diploma programme physics teacher, Alytus Jotvingiai gymnasium, Lithuania; NBS pilot teacher, VilniusTech university class coordinator, Scientix ambassador in Lithuania, STE(A)M IT ‑ Career Advisers Network member; Certificate Member of the EU4Ocean Platform, Network of the EU Blue Schools;

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