"What do we do with the plastic we've already collected from the oceans?" "How much research did it take both of you to make that magazine?"
Fifth-grade science students asked questions as part of a live onscreen spot during yesterday's live GeoChallenge mapping event with Alex Tait, a National Geographic geographer. This is part of the science class’s involvement in the National Geographic GeoChallenge, which engages students in a project-based competition related to pressing environmental issues. This year’s theme is “Tackling Plastic!” and aims to educate students on our watersheds and plastics, and how plastic pollution is impacting our environment.
Teams of students are creating maps, developing models, and producing videos as part of their investigation, which will be submitted to National Geographic by the Jan. 16 deadline. The students will participate in two additional live GeoChallenge events during which they speak with experts in the field: one on Nov. 22 regarding the Ganges River expedition and one on Dec. 13 on digital storytelling.
According to the National Geographic website, the GeoChallenge focuses on science and geography to respond to critical issues facing our planet using research, collaboration, and creativity. The theme changes annually, and is designed to foster 21st century skills like problem solving, teamwork and ingenuity, as well as an understanding of the scientific process and methods.
The GeoChallenge formula dovetails with the Lower School's design thinking framework, in which students observe, ask questions, gain an understanding of a problem or situation, navigate ideas, create a prototype, refine their prototype, and launch their prototype.