Plastics Are a Problem: Our Unit on Plastic Pollution

Kelsey BrennerAll, Maritime High School

By Chanel Young, Maritime High School Student Blogger

Sometime after we returned from winter break, we started working on our social media campaign (humanities class) and ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) boat design challenge (STEM class) to present at our winter exhibition which featured parents of students, students of the opposite crew, and people who work professionally in maritime / STEM-related industries. We were challenged with an overall budget of $250,000 for materials and the standard of the boat must be able to have some type of plastic pollution-catching technology. With students working in groups of three to four, each person had a different responsibility, whether that be being in charge of material management, engineering, time tracker, and design thinker for example.

Once everyone started their boat testing, each group had to count the number of plastic pieces caught. Some groups had the high of 200-something pieces, while some people (my group) caught ten or below. We were assessed on how detailed our paper group info packets were and our boat performance.

Now for the social media campaign, we had to make a youtube video, two tweets, an infographic, and a slide presentation. I found this more challenging than the boat design challenge as this took way longer, needed more group input, and every job was mainly up to the student since the project was not really monitored by teachers. For the roles, my group had the script/info writer, the editor, the voiceover person, and an organizer but this could vary per group. The slides contained experiences from the talk with our legislators, what we learned at the Des Moines Creek field day, and other more specific details about the boat design challenge/social media campaign. For the final videos, some groups did comedy-style videos while others did more informational content.

Check out one of the student-created videos on plastic pollution!