Effective integration of seaweek and science inquiry

| By Julie Low, Point View School, Howick Auckland

Room 12 enjoy exploring the sea and sea creatures.

We have been delving into concepts around waste in our local sea and coastal environment in Middle School at Point View School last term. It was aligned to a waste audit (and the Enviroschools Zero Waste Theme Area) that Cate Jessep, our Enviroschools  facilitator, was promoting and wove in the yearly focus on Seaweek.

Here’s a summary of what we did:

  • We wanted to have a science focus.
  • We linked it in with Seaweek.
  • Students researched how the sea and the sea creatures need our help.
  • Getting control of waste.

    We read the book: Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea.

  • Students explored information around the Pacific Garbage Patch.
  • Guest speaker Riley from Young Ocean Explorers visited.
  • Guest speakers from the Sea Cleaners came.
  • We turned Point View School into the Pacific Ocean!
  • Each part of the school was turned into an island and then each middle school class became an island (my class was Tonga).
  • For one week each middle school class (island) went out twice a day at the same time to collect rubbish in our designated island.
  • We then collated the rubbish back in our classes to find out where the rubbish had come from.
  • Following the week, totals were made and then we discussed: “What did we notice?” “What did we wonder?” “What should we do next?”
  • We had a syndicate assembly (see banner image) to report back on our findings and to talk about what next.

Here’s the collation of the rubbish we collected over the week.

The collected wasted sorted and recorded.

The students felt very strongly that our next step was to reintroduce and encourage nude food again. Initially the focus will be with the middle school but we are wanting to then extend it school-wide. My class have been writing persuasive letters to their parents about bringing nude food lunches and making posters to distribute to classes.

We would also like to explore some composting options and I would really like to start some sort of soft plastics recycling too. I have tried the company that supplies the bins to Countdown but they don’t seem to provide them to other companies so we are looking at other options.

As teachers we were thrilled with the outcome of our Seaweek investigation. The kids really took ownership. They were amazed (teachers too) at the amount of rubbish that was collected in the week! We are looking forward to seeing how our journey unfolds from here.

Here is the presentation made at assembly. 2023_ES_Auckland_Point View seaweek_assembly ppt presentation

“A young principal, from a remote school in Indonesia, with a particular interest in reducing plastic waste in his community is on a Scholarship studying for 10 weeks at AUT in the INSPARASI programme.  He, his programme coordinator and I went to see Point View School present their findings at assembly last Friday. They also shared letters they have written to their parents asking for less packaging in their lunch boxes. The students have more action to take as a consequence of their inquiry. Irfan, Caroline and I were impressed with all that was showcased at the assembly and how they go about it at Point View Enviroschool to engage staff, students and whānau.” – Cate Jessep, Enviroschools facilitator and Sustainable Schools Advisor, Tāmaki Makaurau

Working in their “islands of the Pacific” teams, students took responsibility for auditing waste in areas of their school grounds.

Students consider where the collected waste comes from.