Have you seen the colorful, ocean-themed shipping container sitting out on the Big Field this week? That shipping container is actually the Education Station, a mobile classroom that will be on campus from May 15 – 24. The container comprising the Education Station has been cleverly re-purposed to function as an interactive, walk-through, portable classroom equipped with a flat screen TV and white board for presentations. It even has a large pop-up screen for outdoor movie screenings.
The Education Station is operated by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi, a non-profit organization committed to increasing public awareness about the detrimental effects of plastics on our environment and the importance of protecting our oceans. Their mission is to “inspire local communities to care for their coastlines through hands-on beach cleanups.” They fulfill their mission through projects beyond just beach cleanups, including workshops, team building events, and educational outreach programs. Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi has been able to expand its reach within the community by partnering with schools to house the Education Station on site, at no cost to the school.
Katie Ricca, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, arranged to have the Education Station visit the IPA campus, providing a unique educational opportunity for our students and faculty. Teachers from the Elementary and Upper schools were able to sign up for a time during the week to bring their students to the station for a workshop led by one of the volunteer educators from Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi.
At the workshops, students listened to a multi-media presentation about the effects of marine debris and plastic pollution on marine life and the environment. They were taught about the perils of over-consumption, the damage caused by “single-use” plastics (e.g., sandwich bags, straws, plastic cutlery), the persistence of plastics in the environment, and the negative impacts on the marine environment and wildlife. They also learned about the simple steps that each student can do to help address the problems. Students then had a chance to participate in various hands-on activities, tailored to the students’ age and the teachers’ curricula. Activities included sand sifting to remove marine debris, micro-plastic art, and sorting and observing Albatross boluses.
As part of our “IPA Gives Back” campaign, ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY has partnered with neighboring schools to bring their students on learning trips to the IPA campus for workshops at the Education Station. Students from Kapolei Elementary and Hoʻokele Elementary have been invited to visit the station later this week and next. IPA has also invited children and their families from area pre-schools to a special learning event at the Education Station on Friday, May 26, followed by a special screening of Finding Dory under the stars on the Big Field. All IPA families are invited to attend the outdoor movie night!