Public Lab Research note

Messages from the Mississippi Lesson 6: Building a Campaign

by purl | February 26, 2021 21:11 26 Feb 21:11 | #25814 | #25814


Available as a Google Doc here.

Time: 90 minutes


  • snowglobe pieces for each student
  • Glass globe
  • Wooden mount
  • Plastic lid
  • collected microplastics
  • supplies collected by students and teacher (i.e. natural materials and reusable/single use salvaged items)
  • art supplies, i.e. acrylic paint, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, feathers, markers, etc.
  • printer paper/construction paper
  • teacher computer (with internet access) and shareable screen
  • computers (with internet access) for each student/student group

Further Reading:

Objective: Students will be able to present and defend their proposed solutions through the creation of artwork and education materials to share with community members. Students will do this through creating artwork from microplastics and marine debris collected during their field experience and building educational content for posters to support their plastic reduction campaign

Preparation Prior to Lesson

Have students collect materials from home that can be repurposed or reused. There should be an emphasis on using materials that they might otherwise throw away or recycle, i.e. bottle caps, corks, straws, etc. Metals should be avoided as they will rust over time.

As well, either purchase a bag of plastic animals or have students each bring in a figurine that they'd like to be the center of their snowglobe. This can be a plastic animal figurine, army men, a small house figure, etc.

Make sure nurdles/microplastics from field research have been saved somewhere in the classroom. Prior to this lesson, make sure microplastics materials have been properly washed to avoid smell/river residue.

Have space on a whiteboard or make a Google Doc for shared note-taking space.


Time: 30 minutes

(10 min) Discuss: What were you surprised to learn through our Messages from the Mississippi series? What are some ways that you could spread the information that you've learned with your community such that it could be absorbed and used for advocacy efforts in the future?

(20 min) Examples of Environmental Advocacy

Have students briefly glance over these lists of environmental advocates:

Depending on timing, either have a list of 5-6 activists pre-decided or, as a class, have students determine the list based on who they're interested in learning about. Recommended priority on the above two lists, as these are youth activists. Have students go up to the shared note-taking space (either a whiteboard, or a Google Doc if teaching remotely) and write their name under the respective activist they want to learn about. Students should be evenly dispersed.

From here, have each group of students research the community advocate of their choice and make a list of the strengths and limitations of their work.

Consider the limitations leaders due to where they are based and their accessibility to resources.

Once all students have presented (limit to about three minutes per group), have students consider how they can adopt some of the strengths and techniques they've learned about from these various environmental leaders. This can be done in a discussion format.


(30-35 min) Art with a Purpose

For this activity, students should bring the materials that they have been collecting at home-- items that would normally be recycled or thrown away, as well as organic materials such as twigs, pine needles, bark, pebbles. As well, have each student either pick a figurine that the teacher has provided or one that they've brought from home. From here, students unleash their creativity

Have some art supplies available such as adhesive/tacky glue, pipe cleaners, acrylic paint, buttons, googly eyes, feathers, etc.

Give a brief demonstration of putting together a snowglobe. Explain the inner components should be glued to the inside of the lid and once students are ready, they can get a scoop of microplastics/nurdles to be put in the glass piece. Once they are finished, the glass piece can be filled about three quarters of the way with distilled water, the plastic cap screwed on and finally, attached to the wooden bottom. Students can initial and date their snowglobes.

Students should then write an artist's statement of no more than three or four sentences about the inspiration and intention behind their snowglobe. What do they want viewers to think about when they look in their snowglobe? Reinforce the importance of their work and the impact art can have on the ethos and culture of a society. Students should write their caption on half of a piece of construction paper folded (hamburger style) in half. This way, their caption can stand beside their snowglobe.

(15-20 min) Developing a Campaign

Have students develop their own campaign-- this is an open-ended project. Students can discuss what campaigning methods they find effective and should design a campaign based on these conversations.


For example: Do we think an email blast once a week or four instagram posts/stories in a week is more effective? Does it make sense to make fliers? Where would we hang them? Who are the people we want to see our work?


Time: 10 minutes

Synthesize and Share

Where do we go from here? How will students take the knowledge with them (i.e. use what they've learned in their daily life and choices)?

After the lesson: Compile photos of students snowglobes/posters and post to Public Lab!


@purl Hey, the article A Grassroots Movement for Clean Air from Grassroots Change Using Photographs in Fighting Mining Companies is not mine. I just posted it to the website.

The appropriate credit is: Article by Forest Jahnke, from Crawford Stewardship Project for Community Science Forum: Sand-Frac Issue

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