The new education tools, as part of the EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas, aims to get students excited about science and propel them into action to prevent the plastics pollution clogging the planet’s oceans.
The videos, lesson plans and design challenges are available free of charge to any teacher worldwide and are the culmination of a recent exploration of the impact of plastic pollution on marine organisms, habitats and humans in Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay and surrounding coastal communities.
Philippe Cousteau Jr, EarthEcho International founder and grandson of the legendary explorer Jacques Yves Cousteau, said, “We’ve all seen horrifying pictures of animals stuck in discarded plastic six-pack rings around their necks in the ocean. In Australia, we swam alongside fur seals, cleaned up a beach, learned about a new species of dolphin and ‘urban’ penguins, and most disturbingly, found plastics everywhere even while dissecting dried bird vomit.”
Led by Cousteau, an explorer and environmental advocate, the expedition is sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation. All classroom materials were developed collaboratively and vetted by the 28 participating Australian and American educators who currently serve as EarthEcho Expedition Fellows.
Made possible by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, EarthEcho’s latest series of teaching tools includes everything teachers need to convey the enormity of the plastics pollution problem, what actions are currently in play, and what students can do to help.
Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation and vice president of Northrop Grumman’s global corporate responsibility, said, “We look forward to classrooms around the world using these materials to spark student enthusiasm of STEM concepts and the environment.”
The Expedition Fellows transformed what they learned into engaging and accessible STEM lesson plans for students. The resources include bright spots of how some community-based organisations are addressing the problem and how-to guides based on principles of behaviour science that help people shift toward using alternatives to plastic, engineering new materials to replace plastic, and more.
The EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas classroom materials include the following elements:
- Expedition Videos – Explore Australia’s breathtaking and fragile coastlines with Philippe Cousteau and leading scientists and experts as they travel to the front-lines of the ocean plastics problem. From the life cycle of plastic products to their impact on marine life and coastal communities, this video series brings the issue of plastic pollution to life for classrooms everywhere.
- Youth in Action Videos – Young environmental leaders share their inspiring stories of how they are tackling the issue of ocean plastics and making a positive impact.
- STEM Career Close-ups Videos – Students hear from an engaging and diverse group of leading scientists and researchers who are helping to turn the tide on ocean plastics pollution.
- Classroom Lesson Plans and Design Challenges – Utilizing design challenges and science-based approaches, EarthEcho Expedition: PlasticSeas lesson plans aim to inspire and equip students to find solutions to a range of real-world challenges from developing alternatives to single-use plastics to engineering solutions to waste in our schools.
- Virtual Field Trips – Students connect virtually with researchers, advocates and policymakers on the ground in real time to examine the plastics pollution issue and collaborate on ways to address the problem.
EarthEcho International believes that the youth have the power to change our planet. Established by siblings Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau in honor of their father, Philippe Cousteau Sr., and grandfather, legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, EarthEcho inspires young people worldwide to act now for a sustainable future.
Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation aim to expand and enhance sustainable science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education opportunities for students globally. Northrop Grumman’s partnerships focus on engineering and technology-based initiatives that excite, engage and educate students and provide professional development opportunities for their teachers, with an emphasis on middle school and university level programs.