Mission Resolve Foundation’s “Mission Possible” is a comprehensive K-16 educational platform designed to engage, inspire and educate students that anything is possible when communities work together to implement actionable change.
The Mission Resolve Foundation’s (MRF) Education Program will be guided by its mission of humanitarian disaster response and will focus on educating students and the general public on the science that underpins our growing understanding of the many dimensions of natural disasters. As an example, MRF’s commitment to providing relief to the Bahamas in the wake of hurricane Dorian will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive education and outreach effort. Particular attention will be given early on to the issue of marine plastics and the disruptive role of storms in the redistribution, physical breakdown, eventual fate and impact of plastics in the ocean environment. Educational modules or “Operations” will be conceived by MRF scientists and developed working hand in hand with educators, field tested and ultimately produced for broad dissemination by Adventures in Film.
Mission Resolve Foundation will inaugurate its Education Program through a pilot program currently being developed through a unique partnership with the Broward County Public School System at New River Middle School (NRMS) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Broward County Schools currently serves as the sixth-largest public school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. The district has nearly 270,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges and 89 charter schools. Broward County School System has students representing 204 different countries and 191 different languages. New River Middle School’s student body is comprised of 1,600 students, 85% of which are on free and reduced lunch. Following the launch and evaluation of the pilot at New River Middle School, the program will be extended to include all of Broward County Schools as well as “sister communities” nationally and internationally.
Mission Possible’s Pilot educational modules are referred to as “Operations”, each of which is a fundamental part of Mission: Marine Plastics. These Operations will include teacher professional development, science-based classroom curriculum, family activity guides, home schooling curriculum, video modules and field trips that will include student hands-on data collection and analyses.
Each Operation provides critical support for teachers to educate students in STREAM (Science, Technology, Resilience, Engineering, Arts and Math) based, hands-on activities that expose and educate students to the increasingly critical environmental issues Marine Plastics now pose in our society. Each Operation is also designed to provide authentic and engaging Problem Based Learning (PBL) experiences focusing on STREAM jobs and career pathways. A specific focus is placed on featuring females and minorities as role models in STREAM careers for our students. A hallmark of the Mission Resolve Foundation’s Education Program is the direct involvement of leading scientists and their graduate students as research mentors for the teachers and students. Similarly, civic and industry leaders will also be engaged as mentors for students addressing the critical life skills of entrepreneurship and civic engagement.
The scientists and civic leaders will work hand in hand with teachers from the NRMS to develop the operations during a week-long workshop in early summer 2020. This effort will develop the main components of each of the Operations that will include:
- The current science background on the issues, including the impact that disasters have on shaping the issues
- The entrepreneurial and career opportunities associated the Operation
- Hands-on training in data collection and analytical techniques of science activities that the teachers can implement with their students
- Inclusion of mathematics, language arts, ecological and social resiliency as inter-related elements of the Operation
- Resources for further exploration of the topics (primary literature, video and other media tools developed during the workshop, other online resources, links to career opportunities etc.)
The Operations will include alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards and any required Florida state standards as well. Operations and their respective activities may be further customized and developed by each individual teacher, based on their backgrounds and subject matter, along with anticipated grade levels and the particular interests of their students. The choice of which modules and the specific order of their introduction to their students is left up to each respective professional educator.
A comprehensive week-long Operation Marine Plastics teacher professional development workshop will be held later in the summer 2020 to introduce 20 teachers to the Operations. The workshop will include introduction to current science background on the issues, hands-on training in data collection and analytical techniques that the teachers will implement with their students and reflection and discussions of personal actions that each can make to address the marine plastics issue. Teachers will then implement these hands-on activities in their classroom during the school year 2020-2021. MRF will also orchestrate an online refresher webinar for teachers to reinforce the content and activities presented during the summer workshops.
Following the implementation of the Pilot Operations in 2020-2021 the students will have the opportunity to share their work and give them pride of authorship. Students will learn how to effectively communicate and present their work. Among the possible venues for these outreach events are: a Mission Resolve Science/STEM Fairs, Poster Sessions or a Symposium that would also feature a plenary presentation by MRF scientists. These events would be held at the end of each school semester/year as a means of formalizing the lessons learned and the innovative ideas generated by students participating in the Mission Resolve Education Program. These forums may be competitive or non-competitive tools designed to recognize student achievements in addressing the marine plastic trash issues and challenges through this educational program. If competitive, the most successful students and their teachers could be invited to spend one or more days aboard the Lana Rose during one of its working voyages.