Life Below Water


8 lessons

Learning objectives:

Depth of competence - level 1 - remember and reproduce
•    Explain how ocean plastics contribute to the combined climate, ecological, and social crises, using a range of disciplinary angles and interdisciplinary approaches, including chemistry, biology, geography, Norwegian language (the mother tongue), English language, and social sciences.

Competence depth level 2 - basic concepts and skills
•    Explain the chemical aspects of plastics
•    Explain the biological and ecological factors of marine plastics pollution
•    Explore and explain the role of change makers in social dynamics
•    Develop argumentative skills using both your mother tongue (Norwegian) and your first foreign language (English)
•    Consider individual and collective measures to take care of health and the more-than-human world.

 Competence depth level 3 - strategic thinking and reasoning
•    Explore and account for connections between chemical bonds and properties of various substances
•    Explain the importance of carbon for life on earth
•    Encounter and critically engage with experts in various related fields, both from academia, industry, and civil society
•    Devise strategies for developing a student-led, public exhibition on the initiative, covering aspects both of the natural and social sciences

Competence depth level 4 - expanded thinking
•    Present findings through a variety of channels, including the making of short films, artistic expression, producing scientific posters, public presentations and debates

Description of the learning process and activities:

This practice is based on cCHALLENGE, the process model that is used to support students' engagement in sustainability challenge.

Task 1 – mapping local actors involved in the issue of plastics
This is an open schooling initiative. It involves a combination of traditional, in-school approaches to teaching across the various subjects mentioned, and more innovative, open schooling approaches between the school and a range of local and regional stakeholders. Students will map the range of stakeholders relevant to the wicked problem of ocean plastics, on the scale of our local community. 
The initiative explores possibilities for creating hope through cooperation. This will involve visiting local businesses and industries, networking with academics and other experts, taking field trips to local beaches to collect ocean garbage and so on. 

Task 2 – conducting a 30-day social transformation experiment cCHALLENGE
Each student chooses and commits to a personal change experiment related to sustainability. They select an everyday habit that they wish to change for 30 day. 

During the cCHALLENGE, students reflect upon and share their experiences with each other, at school, with family and friends, and the wider community. This includes stories about successes, frustrations, research discoveries, and insights. Students share their experiences and stories in the form of blog entries, drawings, in-class discussions, describing possible solutions, new ideas, and courses of action together with evidence of change. 

Teachers can help the students explore their own agency and provide positive feedback through regularly basis.

Task 3 – Planning and running a public exhibition at school 
This task constitutes a major milestone for the larger initiative: students will be working across several subjects in the preparation of a public exhibition, to be hosted by the school but explicitly open to the community at large. Here will be brought together the work and findings of the various disciplinary lines of inquiry. These involve, among other things: 1) making scientific posters on various aspects relating to ocean plastics; 2) creating artworks; 3) creating small films which communicate to the public what you have been doing; 4) physically preparing objects and designing the larger structure of the exhibition; 5) community outreach, including possible letters to the editor and invitations to stakeholders from policy, industry, academia, the media, and civil society, and finally, 6) hosting and guiding through the exhibition for a duration of three days.

The format of the exhibition allows to work both with 1) disciplinary lines of inquiry, such as, for example, the modeling of hydrocarbon compounds, and 2) interdisciplinary approaches to learning. 

Task 4 – Community involvement: conducting a student-led, group-based life cycle analysis of a local product
Teachers and students have a range of possibilities to get actively involved in the local community: 
- combing beaches for ocean trash
- cleansing trash together with professionals and prepare it for being remolded into building material 
- visiting a local plastics factory to help with the actual remolding of trash into building material
- meeting local experts on circular economy who can contribute to a more analytical or conceptual approach into those activities
- helping in the actual construction process
- having a dialog with the media, academics, and others along the way, learning to critically discuss and communicate on the wicked problem
- analyzing and then critically confronting a locally chosen product for its overall carbon footprint, what is called a life cycle analysis, resulting in a group presentation.

Each of these “openings” will feed back into disciplinary work inside school.

More information: 

Other remarks:

cCHALLENGE was created by cCHANGE, a social start-up founded by Prof. Karen O'Brien from the University of Oslo
This practice is created by Erik Knain,