A Tale of Two Turtles

Ultimaker North American Community : The Ocean Plastic Project


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7th graders in the Challenge Program at Forest Park Middle School in Illinois brainstormed the problem of #OceanPlastic and selected the leatherback turtle to focus on in this project. The goal was to create an exhibit to help raise awareness about plastic in the ocean.

"A Tale of Two Turtles" is a display that incorporates jellyfish "shimmering" with LED neopixel lighting programmed by students dancing before the leatherback turtles who are approaching. On the right of the display, another turtle is enticed by a shimmering plastic bag. Unfortunately, turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish in the water and the results are tragic. The display is further enhanced by dramatic music composed by a student. We hope that we can raise this awareness and inspire others to stop using plastic bags when they shop.

Materials and methods

The frame was designed and constructed with PVC by Finnur and Ernesto while Mayumi arranged the cloth backdrop. Printed turtles and jellyfish were hung from fishing line. Microbits and neopixels were programmed in Python for lighting by Finnur. Kelvin composed music in Garage band while James procured 3D elements. A large infographic was designed by Mayumi to incorporate research information discovered while exploring this topic.
To create the leatherback sea turtle, we modified a file from Kderose at https://www.tinkercad.com/things/bEc70ZN3Fhv adding the flippers and stripes down the back. Mayumi made the flippers and Ernesto imported, resized and incorporated them into the design. After printing, Mayumi and Ernesto assembled, sanded and painted the turtles.
To promote their solution of reducing plastic bags, students created keychain reminders. The keychain acronym, T.O.T.T. stands for "think of the turtles"
These were also printed on PLA and the turtle was painted green.
Special thanks for the jellyfish design by Samuel-tinkerer at https://www.tinkercad.com/things/5RVCJ8OSAwJ#/

Design Thinking Solution:

For our design thinking process for the #OceanPlastic project we empathized with the topic by listening to news and read articles to gain an understanding of the many issues surrounding it. Second, we defined the issue further by selecting the topic of turtles mistaking plastic bags to jellyfish and by asking "How can we reduce plastic use?" After brainstorming ideas, we came up with a display that visitors could walk into to and be immersed by the problem. After designing a prototype to highlight the problem, we needed a solution. While the display acts as a solution and informs with an info-graphic, our 7th grade Challenge students came up with an embossed key chain design to promote their solution of reducing plastic bags. The key chain features a leatherback turtle and the acronym, T.O.T.T. which stands for "Think of the Turtles" and is also the acronymm for the display "Tale of Two Turtles."

The exhibit was displayed at "Challenge Night and students presented their project, answered questions and passed out the key chains as reminders to their visitors to "think" before accepting/using plastic bags.



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