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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Empowering Elementary Students’ Ecological Thinking Through Discussing the Animé Nausicaa and Constructing Super Bugs


Ecological teaching models and evidence of success in public schools may be lacking. We created a constructivist ecological model using the animé Nausiscaa with fourth graders in a Scottsdale, Arizona school. The animé involves the epic adventure, good and evil battle to affect the future of the human race. We documented results using questionnaires, photographs, and students’ written final statements. An art teacher introduced the animé, followed with students’ analysis of action sequences, demonstrated how to make three-dimensional super bugs, and questioned students about ecological concerns. Our major research question was how did discussing the animé Nausicaa and making super bugs empower children to reinterpret bug powers and learn about ecology. We offer explanations of surface and deeper influences. While most responses regarding bug powers were bad--offensive and defensive, two emerging good categories related to ecology were recycling and pollinating. Students showed some empathetic understanding and constructed a few ecological connections between their inner and outer worlds.

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