Our Education Programme

What sets us apart as an organisation is that we have a global view of the issue and have worked with scientists for 8 years, out on the ocean and in the laboratories. We have witnessed and documented the disturbing consequences of ingested plastic in seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and fish. And we want to pass that knowledge to as many as we can.

Our film, A Plastic Ocean was the first tool of our global education work and it has already opened the hearts and minds of people all over the world and from all walks of life.  Our plan is to perpetuate and spread that message through our work in schools and with members of the public to turn the messages of the film into action and provide the wave of change we need.

School-aged children have an innate interest in the natural world.  They believe it’s not only possible but that it is their role to do better than their parents.  As we grow into adults, change may appear exhausting but at school-age there is real hope, optimism and determination. We must make the most of that by empowering children to become ambassadors for change.

We have become addicted to plastic.  We have transformed the nature of the ocean.  Without the ocean, life on Earth could not exist – including us.”  Dr. Sylvia Earle

Our Approach

There are various education materials available online that cover ocean issues and to a small degree this includes plastic waste and what is often referred to as ‘marine litter’.  Discussing these with teachers in different parts of the world however, we realise that many of these existing materials are only of use to those teachers who have plenty of time to build their own extra-curricular programmes, run science clubs and similar study groups outside of the normal lesson timetable.

In order to achieve the education goals of the Foundation, our materials are being designed to work with the International GCSE system and are easily adaptable for different examination boards. While there are some subjects where flexibility allows the topic of plastic waste to be explored, many areas are very specific in what must be taught. We are currently focusing on students ages 11 to 16 (KS 3 – 4) and are creating complete lesson plans in a range of subjects so that teachers can download the materials they need.  They include PowerPoint presentations, resource materials and activity sheets each geared to three levels of ability.

These materials are being designed by teachers for teachers to develop an inclusive, effective education programme which schools will be want to be a part of.  Feedback to date with the test lessons has been very positive from the teachers and the students themselves have been very engaged with the topic.  They will be available through our website in the Autumn term.

Our new education materials designed by Jess Hickie

Jess has been teaching science for more than 10 years.  She holds a masters degree in Marine Science and was one of the original film researchers  for ‘A Plastic Ocean’, looking specifically at the human health threat and at what is happening in our deep oceans. Jess’ lesson outlines and resources have already resonated with teachers in the schools we have tested them in and the students have been engaged with the subject from the start. She is continuing to produce materials that, through engaging STEM activities, fit with the UN 17 goals for a better world and with the UK’ Government’s 25 year environment plan, for all age groups that can be adapted for schools in any country.

Workshops and School Talks

We have been running different workshops for students of all ages to engage them in the topic and encourage them to spread the word through artwork, debates, letter writing campaigns and ‘news media’ activities.