Teaching Gifted Youth about Persistent Problems with Plastics Pollution
The recent news story about the devastating amount of plastics that have washed up onto Henderson Island in a remote area of the Pacific Ocean is shocking to see. However, this problem provides great opportunity for parents and educators to engage their gifted and creative students in being a part of the solutions of such crippling examples of human-inflicted damage to our planet.
We know that gifted and talented students desire curriculum that is authentic or real and that they have the abilities to engage in sophisticated problem solving, analysis, and ingenuity. The Henderson Island problem is one that these students should be aware of and should have opportunity to pursue, whether just on the level of this one significant example, or through interests that this example might generate.
Here are some potential questions that students could pursue to stimulate their thinking about Henderson Island as well as similar problems around the world.
- How is wildlife endangered by the massive use of plastics in our world?
- How is the environment affected by pollution?
- What solutions can you think of to stop/ reduce/ and clean up pollution?
- How do weather patterns, ocean movements, and Earth’s rotations affect the transporting of debris around the world?
- What kinds of careers are involved in protecting biodiversity, sustaining the environment, and creating Earth-friendly plastics?
- What is my role in protecting the environment during my lifetime? Why should I care?
You can doubtless think of many other questions as well. Students may find that engaging in such problem solving might lead to related interests in other fields, such as scientific research, data analysis, meteorology, environmental engineering, or anthropology, to name a few. Engaging in such complex, real, and current content helps prepare our gifted students for future problems they will face now and later, as adults. Let’s give them that practice and that opportunity to engage now, as well as later.
Click here for more information on the Henderson Island story.
All the best,