How It Works
Not just a display...
These works give students a concrete example of how different subjects work together for the true understanding of a problem.
Each sculpture functions as the messenger, bringing interactive components, and a collaborative research element.
A visit from a sculpture provides ways to focus on the ocean plastic problem through science, language arts, world languages, and of course, art.
It is highly flexible for educators, aligns with curriculum easily, and gives students a real-world connection.
Its also a great opportunity to showcase a school's work and involvement through the local media, which is important for any 21st century school.
Art as the Catalyst
Shelly, pictured here, and our other sculptures represent ocean life, but also represent ideas and feelings about ocean pollution that the students have expressed in a powerful way. They communicate a set of ideas that are cohesive and meaningful on many levels. It is because many artists have spoken through these art works they hold so much power. The fact that they have traveled to so many far-away places, and have a history of helping so many learn, has truly given each sculpture a life of its own.
Message in a bottle
Perhaps the most important part of the sculpture is the "Message in a Bottle" interactive component, located in the mouth of each sculpture. In a spontaneous act of amusement, one student shoved an empty plastic water bottle into the Rakefish's open mouth during construction. This began the idea of the "Message in a Bottle" component of the sculpture.
This allows every student who participates in the project to ceremoniously add a personal, written contribution to the sculpture, in the form of a personal statement or plea to world leaders, written on a fortune cookie-sized paper, for students to insert directly into the bottle in the Rakefish's mouth.
In this way, the sculpture literally carries the message from each student.
This symbolic act will provide students with a direct and permanent connection, representing a personal investment in the mission of the Rakefish. This, along with contributions to the research tasks we provide to their host school, serves to give students an active role in their learning experience. This is further enhanced by the students' abilities to keep up with the entire journey of the sculpture through the use of technology.
Host schools in the United States participated in a collaborative PowerPoint-style presentation, comprised mainly of 2 parts, or research tasks. The first part was the same for each school, which was to provide information about their local watershed, and how it connects their community with the ocean. The second part deals with the specific impacts that plastic pollution has on ecosystems, wildlife, and people. This includes specific questions which are different for each host school. Schools were given absolute flexibility in choosing how best to respond to their assigned tasks.
the powerful Pledge
The pledge scroll, curled around an old plastic paint roller, travels with each of our sculptures. It is read by students to a group of students, then signed by each student in the blank space below the pledge text:
"We, the young students of the world believe we are all responsible for taking care of the environment. We want to live our lives in a clean environment and to leave behind a healthy Earth for all children of every generation to love and enjoy.
By signing this pledge we agree to try and make recycling and waste reduction a habit in our own life, at home, at school, and in our communities. We agree to lead by example and educate others about reducing waste. By signing this pledge we agree to come together as one force, to speak to the Leaders of the World about cleaning our environment, and especially about getting plastic trash out of our oceans and saving marine life.
The Future Leaders of the World"