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Icon for: Chris Woods

CHRIS WOODS

Litterati

Building a Global Community to Crowdsource-Clean the Planet

NSF Awards: 1853170

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Every day, our children see litter in their communities. That's not just a problem to solve, it's an opportunity to learn and make an impact. When kids use the Litterati app to take a photo of litter they pick up, it automatically geo-tags and identifies the litter and shares it with the worldwide community cleaning up litter. By using the new Litterati lessons, educators are able to help kids think about their impact on nature, how they can recycle more, and ways to improve products so they don't end up as litter. While everyone else shows off their vacation pics or what they ate for dinner, kids who use Litterati can spread the word about the positive impact they're contributing to the planet. 

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (27 posts)
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 11, 2021 | 10:57 a.m.

    As a public school teacher, I want kids to think globally...but also act locally! Helping kids clean their neighborhoods & communities isn't just a far off problem they can't solve, it's something tangible they can do. The Litterati app and the resources at edu.litterati.org are great for turning a cleanup project into a learning opportunity. Since helping my students cleanup in early April, we have continued to think about our impact, and many other educators around the world have started using Litterati with their kids!

  • Icon for: Sarah Haavind

    Sarah Haavind

    Facilitator
    Senior Research Project Manager
    May 11, 2021 | 12:38 p.m.

    Chris! What an awesome app and set of lesson plans!! I've already downloaded the app - thank you for sharing! Your video is inspiring as is your concept. Well done. How are you measuring impact? Please tell us more about that and next steps you are considering or wishing to take. Thanks!!

    ~Sarah 

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 10:03 a.m.

    Hi Sarah, I'm so glad you like Litterati! Measuring impact is a combination of helping educators create cleanup challenges of their own & sign up for school based accounts. Since creating the video, I created a challenge for educators to join & pick up 10,000 pieces of litter in the month leading up to Earth Day & we met that challenge. It was great to see so many educators trying the app with their students (there are some really clean playgrounds)

    -Chris

     
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    Sarah Haavind
    Kirstin Milks
  • Icon for: Kirstin Milks

    Kirstin Milks

    Facilitator
    Science Teacher
    May 11, 2021 | 12:48 p.m.

    Hi Litterati team! I'm a high school science teacher, and at first glance this looks like an incredible tool for helping students to get outside and use data to make change!

    My biggest question is about framing litter collection in bigger issues of policy and change. We tend so often, especially for younger learners, to frame these issues in personal responsibility, rather than the fact that it will take concerted effort to create lasting change. Your website landing page has lovely stories about how this data is used to create change, and I skimmed the lesson plans on the edu. site -- but I am still wondering how you see teachers helping students understand that collaborating with stakeholders and using data to propose policy is an essential part of how change happens in social and environmental movements. Are there student-friendly case studies of the landing page "success stories" in the works?

    I'm also curious about student privacy -- how student data is collected and used on the app. My district (and many of the districts where friends teach) is very strict about data collection on our students, so much so that we are unable to use Zoom as a teaching platform. What student data is collected by the app? Are there separate privacy controls for students using the app for school and people using the app unaffiliated with a lesson?

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 10:16 a.m.

    Hi Kirstin...great questions (and yes, it's super for getting kids to get outside and use data to make change)!

    1st on privacy...very important! With Litterati "all users begin as anonymous users & can choose to remain anonymous in order to keep an option that maximally protects their privacy, regardless of their age." For instance, most of my students chose to just use the app anonymously and upload the pictures of their litter. If you have specific questions, I can connect you with someone to answer them.

    2nd on impacting change...first and foremost, I'm a HS Math teacher, so I wrote the lesson plans as a jumping off point for educators. Every classroom & community is different, so I tried to add in as many possible ideas (the "next steps" part of each lesson plan) to help spark "success stories" like this and this at the local level (which, yes, we definitely want to add more examples of). I'm still asking my students to think about the lessons they've learned on our cleanup days and what will be our "next steps," especially next year when things are more "open."

    -Chris

     
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    Kirstin Milks
  • Icon for: Kirstin Milks

    Kirstin Milks

    Facilitator
    Science Teacher
    May 15, 2021 | 06:06 p.m.

    Thanks for this response! It's a fascinating connection between getting kids involved and a tangible way for them to SEE their results in a time when results aren't all that easy to see sometimes :)

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Anne Stevenson

    Anne Stevenson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 04:13 p.m.

    Kirstin and Chris,

    I'm just reading your posts and love to see the discussion about deeper engagement and change for youth and as a society!  I'd love to circle back with either of you about possible connections with your project and needs and our project with 4-H and the NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers.  Our gr. 6-8 curriculum is intended to help engage youth further in those deeper learning projects and think about ways to address policy issues, community opportunities as change agents, etc. You can view it at our 4hpolymers.org site. BUT also, we are in development of a HS level curriculum/model, for HS youth as change agents around issues of plastics and sustainability. If you'd have interest in pilot testing or serving as a reviewer, we'd love that!  For the HS piece, we are taking 2 tracks...Teen Engagment in community action, and then a youth teaching youth track, for teens to serve as teachers of the K-2 & 3-5 curriculum to that age youth.  Both will have some great in depth content modules around polymer science and bioplastics, plus guides for action projects or teens as  teachers.  Let's connect if you want to learn more and talk further about possibilities. THanks!

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 18, 2021 | 12:25 p.m.

    Hi Anne, I'd love to help out. I also share many great STEM related resources on my dailystem.com website and @dailystem on social media and my STEM Everyday Podcast...so many great educators love hearing about great ideas like yours!

  • Icon for: Rosio Bugarin Pedroso

    Rosio Bugarin Pedroso

    Facilitator
    Principal
    May 11, 2021 | 02:16 p.m.

    Hi Chris, 

    What an incredible innovation/project. I agree with Kirstin about knowing if you will be adding "success stories" to your landing page.  Have you tracked students environmental interests pre to post participation to measure changes in their attitudes and perceptions, for example?  Love the energy of the kids on the video. Would love to know more about how this experience connects with them or their community/how do they see it impacting them directly.

    Look forward to reading your response. 

     

     

     

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Jennifer McCambridge

    Jennifer McCambridge

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 11, 2021 | 02:38 p.m.

    Great video, Chris! I'm wondering the same things as Rosio - especially about youth attitudes and connections to their community after tracking and picking up litter. Has this inspired youth to do more in their communities?

    My project focuses on sustainable plastics and the problems with traditional plastics - there's a lot of connections with your project!

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 10:21 a.m.

    Hi Jennifer...yes, my students continue to think about those cleanup days (it was just over a month ago) and I have continued to talk with them about "next steps" especially for next year post-pandemic restrictions (but...one student is already creating an art project using litter for a local contest). There are definitely issues with traditional plastics and opportunities to connect with this project. A few of the lesson plans I wrote introduce kids to Circular Economy, Returnables, and product design. I'd love to see more educators taking whatever steps they can to get kids to think past just the 1st step of recycling. Let me know if I can be of help!

    -Chris

     
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    Kirstin Milks
  • Icon for: Toby Baker

    Toby Baker

    Researcher
    May 12, 2021 | 12:50 p.m.

    I think Litterati is a great concept. As a co-presenter and researcher with IC4 as well as a K-12 teacher, our students have conducted beach cleanups to support their local marina. I loved how the Litterati can determine what trash, like water bottles, will be found. This is a great way to encourage students to research the environment. 

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 01:54 p.m.

    Hi Toby, Thank you for the positive thoughts...Litterati is definitely a powerful idea and powerful when used by kids and educators for making an impact on their environment!

    -Chris

  • Icon for: Ashley Wall

    Ashley Wall

    K-12 Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 01:02 p.m.

    I love this! This project seems to really empower students to take responsibility for their own communities by giving them agency to make a difference, share their experiences with others, and make lasting impacts on the ways they choose to live their own lives.

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 01:54 p.m.

    Thank you Ashley! It really is empowering, and so versatile for every classroom and community too! 

    -Chris

  • Icon for: Anne Stevenson

    Anne Stevenson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2021 | 01:20 p.m.

    What a great project!  It aligns so well with our work around sustainable polymers and plastics and especially at the gr. 3-5 & 6-8 levels, where youth determine a project based on a need in their community or larger.  I am so excited to look at what you have created and see the app!  I invite you to view our video and see some of the lessons as well, that we have posted on the page.  I'll share this with others who are working on this with me.  In MN, we in 4-H are offering year 2 of our Plastic Sculpture Challenge (last year had to go virtual for showcasing but this year most of the youth in the state who participate will have one or more places to showcase their work!). We have also embedded this concept into our 4-H Green Superheroes of Science program https://sites.google.com/umn.edu/4-h-gsos/home  The litter hunt and sculpture creation portion of this program has been very popular with our youngest members gr. K-2. Thanks for sharing your video and I'll reconnect at some point after viewing your site further.

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 12, 2021 | 01:56 p.m.

    That's great Anne! In a related note, one of the students who helped has since collected litter to use for an art contest design project for drawing attention to litter...if we give kids a push, they take it to great heights! I'll be sure to check your work out too, and don't hesitate to reach out anytime.

    -Chris

  • Icon for: Anne Stevenson

    Anne Stevenson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2021 | 04:16 p.m.

    Thanks again. MN is hosting a Plastic Sculpture Challenge to combine the art and the science. We are just putting the details into place; last year we did it via flipgrid and may keep that option this year too, but will also have an inperson component.  I think the power of using art to bring attention to issues is huge. 

  • Icon for: April Bartnick

    April Bartnick

    K-12 Teacher
    May 12, 2021 | 09:20 p.m.

    Hi Chris. This is such a cool project. I really like the Litterati app. You  have an amazing citizen science project going on. I'm glad you pointed out the trash that gets in the storm grates goes into local waterways. It's so important for students to know this. It always amazes me when students get excited to clean up trash. I love it! I'm going to use this app and get my students involved next year. Do you know if the app has pre-Covid and present Covid trash data? For example, is there data on disposable masks, gloves, single-use plastics, etc. over the past year when compared to previous years?

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 13, 2021 | 12:37 p.m.

    Hi April, I'm so glad you like the Litterati idea (especially the storm grates part...I actually had one kid thinking about a way to redesign them better). As for pre- vs post- COVID data, that would definitely be some interesting data...I can check with them and see what they've got. Sounds like an idea for a great blog post or video.

    -Chris

  • Icon for: Amie Mondl

    Amie Mondl

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2021 | 08:47 a.m.

    Hi Chris,

    I loved your video, especially engaging teen leaders to make an impact on their community, all while utilizing  STEM and Citizen Science to collect and report data around types of litter and little quantities. I'm looking forward to learning more about the little app and incorporating it into our sustainable polymers lesson plans. 

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 14, 2021 | 09:20 a.m.

    Hi Amie, That sounds like a great connection for the Litterati app! Definitely let me know if you need any help or other info

    Chris

  • Icon for: Meredith Hayes

    Meredith Hayes

    Researcher
    May 14, 2021 | 09:30 a.m.

    Great video! Loved seeing this project in action, and the opportunities for students to get outside.  I look forward to checking out the app.  

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 18, 2021 | 12:26 p.m.

    Thank you Meredith! Litterati is really a great way to combine citizen science, problem solving, and outdoor activity with helping make the earth better! Let me know if I can be of help!

    -Chris

  • Small default profile

    Kathy Kennedy

    K-12 Teacher
    May 16, 2021 | 08:26 p.m.

    Chris,

    Thank you for sharing this innovative project idea. I am wondering if your students have used the app independently to capture data and make change in their local neighborhood. I am not able to take the kids off campus, but think might be very engaging to promote family STEM activity and community action. Have you had any activity such as that centered on younger kids?

     
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    Chris Woods
  • Icon for: Chris Woods

    Chris Woods

    Lead Presenter
    Education Consultant
    May 18, 2021 | 12:28 p.m.

    So far I've had some students who were virtual (we are still Hybrid) do the cleanup in their neighborhood. Many of the lessons available on edu.litterati.org are meant to be things they can do at home with their families and then share back as a class. Because of the difficulties this year, I wasn't able to get a lot of feedback on that, but next year should be much better! 

  • Icon for: Sarah Lee

    Sarah Lee

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 18, 2021 | 03:02 p.m.

    I very much enjoyed your video, and love this project idea. I look forward to following your progress.

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