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K’NOW’ YOUR PLASTIC WASTE

About the project

This project attempted to understand India’s urban waste problem by analyzing and representing data collected during a plastic audit of NiBS and its neighbourhood. The project complemented the schools ongoing ‘SEWA’ initiative, where each class engages with a socially relevant problem and thinks of ways to solve it.

Driving Question

How can mathematical data be used to comprehend and provide solutions for real-life, multi-sided problems in our surroundings?

Process

Activities
Students were introduced to the problem of urban waste in India, by watching a TV report on Indian cities that manage their waste successfully. This made students realize that:

  • Waste is a resource
  • Segregating waste is a necessity
  • People need education on how to manage waste.

After this general exposure students decided to focus specifically on the plastic waste problem. To experience the problem first hand, the students did a plastic audit of the school campus and its neighbourhood.

The door-to-door survey, conducted by 5-6 students at a time, included the residents of a neighbouring housing colony and a local restaurant.
After the survey, the raw data collected was collated and analysed. Though team members had different roles and responsibilities, students worked collaboratively to choose the best way to graphically represent the data from the plastic audit.

Students wrote the audit report themselves and presented it to the school community along with an exhibition of substitutes for single use plastic products.

Multi-level immersive activity throughout the project inspired the students to go a step further by producing a street play on plastic pollution on their own.

Project Culmination

Students wrote the audit report themselves and presented it to the school community along with an exhibition of substitutes for single use plastic products.

Multi-level immersive activity throughout the project inspired the students to go a step further by producing a street play on plastic pollution on their own.

Concepts and Skills Enhanced

Workshop with a statistician: This covered data specific concepts like frequency distribution, probability, chance, equally likely objectives and probability through examples. Students were taught how to design a questionnaire and conduct a survey. Along with the statistician they learnt how to represent and interpret different types of data in single and double bar graphs, histograms and pie charts. Writing on interpreting mathematical data: Additionally, students refined their writing styles through a writing task, interpreting a graph of the waste generated by three leading companies in their state. Appreciating the power of popular music: Listening to a song –that went viral–on a well-known citizen beach cleaning effort in Mumbai, made students realize the effectiveness of communicating with passion about environmental issues.

Teacher Reflection

At the commencement of the project itself, the idea of initiating positive change in the environment as whole, enthused the students.

Their faces shone with pride as they performed the street play on plastic pollution – written, directed, and acted all by themselves.

A heartening outcome of the project was that my students now avoid using single-use plastics, recycle properly, and participate in clean-up processes. They discuss the impact and implications of plastic usage and support organizations addressing plastic pollution.

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