Week 10: Sustainability

As a teacher, one the hardest concepts for my students to understand is the term “ sustainability “. It seems like such a simple word and so easu to undstand, but when your are trying to explain the meaning of it and how it relates to ecosystems and environmnets, so students have a difficult time understanding it.

Lets us look at some simple definitions of the term “sustainability”.

  • a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged
  • Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
  • the ability to be sustained, supported, upheld, or confirmed.
  • Environmental Science. The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance:



Where can the word sustainable or sustainability be used? For example, we use the word sustainable quite a lot when talking about ecology, ecosystems and environments.

The Sustainable Ocean

In the past several weeks we have focused on the problems our oceans are facing with garbage and in particular with plastic garbage. What will it take to make our oceans become a sustainable environment?  In order to figure this out we need to find what are the real problems and what are some of the solutions to these problems.

Group activity to understand the sustainable ocean

  • Use the internet or your own knowledge base from what you have learned over the past several weeks about the problem in the ocean
  • Make a list of these problems and what is being done to solve them
  • Maybe you can come up with some other problems not yet mentioned or come up with alternate solutions

Ocean sustainability meets economic sustainability

Most of us in BEST don’t live near an ocean or even live near water. Some of you haven’t even been to an ocean. Why are oceans even that important?

  • Go ahead and make a list of all the important resources that our oceans provide us with
  • Find cities or towns that rely mainly on the oceans for economic sustainability
  • There are citieas that rely on water, but there are also cities that are running out of water. Can you list some of those cities.

Listen to this song.  How does this make you feel?

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the sustainable ocean

Read this news article and you will notice that there is so much plastic in our ocean that is killing our wildlife and polluting our oceans. Do we have a solution for a sustainable ocean or will we be in a position of no return? These topics have already been discussed in previous lessons but lets take a deeper look into how sustainable our oceans really are. Let’s go back to our definitions at the beginning of this lesson. Are our oceans meeting these definitions?

You tell us.

Writing Component:

Write a letter to your local congress representative or your local council or even NOAA letting them know the importance of cleaning up the oceans for a sustainable future.

Last week we learned about watersheds and how the garbage in our own neighborhood can end up in the ocean, so the problem might even start in our own backyard.

Community Connection:

We all have some type of environmental problems in our community. Some of these problems are being addressed, some of them aren’t.

  • What issues do you have that would lead to an unsustainable environment.

For example; I visited a small town near Waco today and they never had a recycling program in place. Well their landfill was filled with so many recyclable items.

  • What is your community doing to maintain or work towards a sustainable community?
  • What are you as an individual doing to help this, or what is your school doing to help these issues?

 BEST Connection – A sustainable team

Either you are a coach reading this or a member of a team. How are you going to meet the needs of a sustainable BEST team? If you are a rookie team and you want to continue, then what are some basic needs to keep you going and keeping your team alive.

If you are a veteran team, then what are you doing different to become a better team? Better, doesn’t have to be about winning. It could be about not burning yourself out and enjoying what you do, or asking for help to make your work easier.

 Bloom’s Taxonomy: add, create, explore, evaluate, generate, include, identify, list, observe, reflect, review, subdivide, use, and write

Workforce Skills: critical thinking, materials evaluation, reading comprehension, science, writing

Week 6: Robots in Motion in the Ocean

About 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans yet so much of it hasn’t been explored. This lesson is going to introduce you to the robots of the ocean. You will need to do a lot of research and become familiar with the types of robots and the jobs they are set out to do. At the end of the lesson you will try to design your own robot to do a job you learned about or even a job no one has thought about. Who knows, you might invent a new robot or maybe use this robot in the BEST competition of Current Events.

What can an oceanic robot do?

First – Brainstorm all the things a robot in the ocean could do. List any kind of work it could perform.

Then watch this video on WHAT ARE OCEAN ROBOTS

Now time for some Research. Use the internet and find as many different ways robots can be used in our oceans.


The Liquid Grid

Ocean Floor Mining

Liquid Robots

Ocean Exploration

Navy’s Sea Hunter

Ocean Depths

An ambitious startup

BEST kit 2017

BEST Consumable Kit 2017

A Blast from the Past:    Exploring the Titanic

“Hi, my name is Angus and I was one of the robots used in 1985 and 1986 on the sunken Titanic expedition”

Learn more about ANGUS and the Titanic expedition.

Now watch this video

Make your own introduction to Ocean exploration. Time to get creative. If you want to make a video you can and send it to  bestology@bestinc.org. It could get published on the BEST YouTube site!

Getting more specific about the Pacific

Lesson 5 was all about plastic in the ocean. We focused on one man and his project to clean up plastic in the Pacific Ocean. Let’s take a look at other robots and companies that are getting involved.

We need to clean up the Pacific garbage patch. Let’s look at how robots are involved in this project.

1.   World’s Largest Ocean Plastic Garbage Cleaning System – “The Ocean Cleanup”

2.   Sea Vax

3.     Underwater robot cleans ocean trash

4.   NOAA – Marine Debris Program

Community Connection:

Now that you are more aware of the Great Pacific garbage patch and how robots are involved in the cleanup, sit down and discuss ways how you as a robotics cub can contribute to this awareness and even help in the project locally. Make it real by contacting your local council and tell them you want to help.

 BEST Connection:

Look at your BEST kit, find a robot that you were interested in while doing your research, see if you can match parts of the BEST kit to parts that could be used on the robot you found.

Now try this extended challenge:

  1. Design a robot on paper, as neat or as rough as you want and explain what this robot will be doing. What its function will be.
  2. Now consider only items from the BEST kit to build your robot. Do you think it could be possible to build this robot?

Bloom’s Taxonomy: add, create, explore, evaluate, generate, include, identify, list, observe, reflect, review, subdivide, use, and write

Workforce Skills: critical thinking, materials evaluation, reading comprehension, science, writing