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Welcome to the National Geographic 2018-19 GeoChallenge: Tackling Plastic!

This webpage is a resource center and workspace for registered GeoChallenge Coordinators and their Coaches. We’ll post information about the competition to this site, including news and events. Check back often!

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Tackling Plastic! Program Guide

The Tackling Plastic! program guide is in three parts: coach’s guide, team guide, and handouts. Download the full program guide here, or see below to print extras of a single section. 

Download FULL Guide

 

 

Explorer Corner

Meet Kakani Katija

Meet Kakani Katija  

Through her work with the ocean, National Geographic Explorer Dr. Kakani Katija sees the effects of plastic pollution in our marine environment and its inhabitants. Kakani is a principal engineer and principal investigator and leads the Bioinspiration Lab at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). An active scientific diver, Kakani designs and deploys underwater tools like robotic vehicles and underwater imaging lasers to learn about ocean life. The technology and tools that Kakani develops expand the possibilities of scientific discovery in some of the most remote parts of the ocean. Learn more about Kakani’s life and work in her full bio.

Read More

 

“The ever-increasing presence of plastics is one of the biggest challenges we face in our ocean. Addressing this issue requires creative solutions from everyone: not just scientists and engineers, but parents, teachers, and students. I look forward to seeing what students are able to achieve through this year’s GeoChallenge, and I hope that one day, together, we can prevent plastics from entering our ocean to ensure the health and well-being of all marine life.”

–Kakani Katija

Tackling Plastic! Resources

Here is a sampling of related National Geographic resources. The following images and articles can help jumpstart your students’ project work by providing a sense of urgency and inspiration for their brainstorming.

Please use caution when sharing resources so that you do not give your students a solution. As a GeoChallenge Coach, your job is to facilitate your students' research and work. Share resources sparingly and avoid proposing solutions or steering the inquiry in a specific direction. This is a student-centered project and not an extension of instruction taking place within the school day. At most, these web pages should be a starting point for brainstorming ideas that may lead to an innovative solution.

Reference and Collections

Kids vs. Plastic

Resources from National Geographic Kids, including a kid pledge to reduce plastics

Walking the Watershed

Featuring National Geographic Explorer Shannon Switzer

Ocean Plastic

A curated collection of National Geographic Education resources—a great starting point for your research

National Geographic Encyclopedia entry: Watershed

National Geographic Encyclopedia entry: Pollution

National Geographic Encyclopedia entry: Marine debris

Planet or Plastic?

Learn more about and join National Geographic’s multiyear effort to raise awareness about the global plastic trash crisis

Online events for GeoChallenge teams & Coaches

For Students: GeoChallenge Live

Live online video events with Dr. Kakani Katija, other National Geographic Explorers, and GeoChallenge staff. During these online hangouts, student teams can connect directly with National Geographic Explorers’ plastic pollution stories and ask for advice on their GeoChallenge projects.

We will post links to the recordings here following each event so that all GeoChallenge teams can access the videos for hints and inspiration.

Dates

Oct. 25 at 4:00 pm ET - Engineering solutions with Kakani Katija

Through her work, GeoChallenge Explorer Kakani Katija sees the effects of plastic pollution in our marine environment and its inhabitants daily. She will discuss plastics in the ocean, creating engineering tools to answer questions and finding solutions in nature.

Oct. 30 at 3:30 noon ET - Sharing solutions through video with Lillygol Sedaghat

Environmental journalist and NG Explorer Lillygol Sedaghat will discuss her research into Taiwan’s plastic waste management and how to use digital storytelling to communicate your plastic pollution solution.

Nov. 7 at 2:00 pm ET - Creating your GeoChallenge map with Alex Tait

Maps are a great way to communicate ideas and help your audience relate to a problem or issue. National Geographic’s Geographer, Alex Tait, will discuss some of the basics of mapmaking and ways to map your GeoChallenge creatively. Bring your questions on how to tell your story with your map.

Nov. 15 at 1:00 pm ET - Engineering solutions with Kakani Katija

Through her work, GeoChallenge Explorer Kakani Katija sees the effects of plastic pollution in our marine environment and its inhabitants daily. She will discuss plastics in the ocean, creating engineering tools to answer questions and finding solutions in nature. This session will be similar to the one on Oct. 25, so come with new questions.

Nov. 20 at 10:00 am ET -  Microplastics in everyday items with Imogen Napper

Marine biologist and NG Explorer Imogen Napper seeks out the tiniest plastics in our everyday lives and designs solutions to prevent them getting into the ocean. From cosmetics to laundry, Imogen will discuss how she investigates the sources of marine plastics and develops solutions to prevent them from reaching the ocean.

Technology requirements

Computer and high-speed internet, projection is nice, but not necessary.

Registration

These sessions are for registered GeoChallenge students and their Coaches. It is free to participate, but registration is required. The first six sites to register can participate on-camera and ask questions directly. All teams can ask questions via chat.

Register your team(s) here.


For Coaches/Coordinators: Webinars

Online sessions with GeoChallenge staff and experienced GeoChallenge Coaches providing an overview of the program and answering any questions.

Coach/Coordinator Webinar Dates

Oct 22 at 4 pm ET - Getting Started on Tackling Plastic!

Nov 6 at 12:30 pm ET - Guiding Teams as They Tackle Plastic

Dec 5 at 8:30 pm ET - How to Submit your GeoChallenge Project(s)

Sessions will be conducted via Zoom and are for registered GeoChallenge participants (no students, please). Links and more information will be emailed to registered participants prior to the session. Sessions will be recorded and the links will be posted here for those who couldn’t make it.

Register here for GeoChallenge Coach/Coordinator webinars.