What We Learned from Philippe Cousteau

Today we had the opportunity to listen to Philippe Cousteau in a webinar about the effects of the Gulf oil spill, presented to students through Discovery Education Network

Discovery Education sent an email out yesterday letting us know that over 60,000 educators had registered to attend!  They were unable to host that many in the webinar, so we were fortunate to get in and DEN was awesome enough to get the whole thing archived quickly for others here

Philippe explained, in terms that students could easily understand, what has happened with the oil spill in the Gulf.  He explained that even though oil drilling technology has progressed over the years, the technology for cleaning up oil spills has not progressed.  They are guessing at what would work each time a new "stop the spill" strategy is tried.   He showed them images of wildlife affected by the oil spill as well as video footage where he went diving in the oil. 

One of the most powerful moments in the webinar was when Philippe told the students that they should see from this that we need scientists and technology to find solutions to protect our environment. He told them that everything they do can make a difference if they protect our earth's resources.  You could have heard a pin drop in the room.  The students were totally engaged in every word he was saying.  The teacher standing next to me looked at me and we both stood there with tears in our eyes.  Hearing this message from Philippe Cousteau was so dynamic. 
Philippe left the students with a call to action:
* Stay informed
* Join the Water Planet Challenge
* Become advocates for environment
* Reduce dependency on oil
When the webinar was over we ended by showing the live video feed of the oil spill.  I think seeing the actual motion and force of the oil coming out as opposed to photos made the students really see the impact of this spill.  I asked the teachers involved in attending the webinar to share with me their students thoughts.  One teacher even sent me their class' wallwisher!  Here are some of the students' statements that I thought were very meaningful:

* I learned that this disaster is the worst  natural disaster in the U.S.
* I can help the environment by using public transportation and reusable grocery bags.
* What I learned was scary.  It looks like it will come to our beach.  (Jacksonville, FL)
* I will use reusable water bottles and ride my bike a lot more.
* I'm so sad that animals are dying from this.

Many, many of the students thanked Discovery Education for teaching them all about this, as well as Philippe Cousteau.  I think it made a huge impact with many.  For teachers interested in teaching their students about this, there are also follow up activities offered by Discovery Education Network here


I agree with him that we needed scientist and thinkers to solve this issue. The students felt that the future is in their hands and that makes them engage. Thank you for sharing this information. I truly appreciate your effort.