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    These lessons take revolving sushi, which is familiar to junior high school students, as a theme in order to get students to think about sustainable fishing.  From the innocent question “Why is revolving sushi so cheap?” a teacher conducted research to create learning materials including quiz and comment sheets which encouraged students to think about and discuss “sustainable fishing” and “the earth’s food resources.”  The dynamic lessons grabbed students’ interest and drew out their desire to think for themselves in imagining future ways of fishing based on multiple perspectives.

Handmade Educational Materials
    Investigating based on his own questions, gathering materials, thinking together with students—the lessons of Mr. Motoyama, an 8th-grade teacher, are completely handmade.  Up until this point, he has also developed lessons around the themes of “one hundred yen shops” (“dollar shops”) and hamburgers—concerning the reasons products can be sold so cheaply and encouraging students to think about connections with the global economy and how to create a society that is more fair and sustainable.
    Motoyama, who says he loves to eat, took up as his next theme “revolving sushi.”  Why are the fish that are familiar to junior high school students from “revolving sushi” so cheap?  Why especially can toro, the fatty part of the tuna, now be eaten so cheaply?  Is it true that the number of tuna is decreasing as reported in the media?  Questions were etched in his mind.  Quickly, he gathered information, paid a visit to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market, and conducted other interviews.  His lesson began with a “Revolving Sushi Quiz.”

Surprise at the Correct Answer!
    When the teacher asked: “Have you been to “revolving sushi?” almost all the students raised their hands.  Then the teacher says that the students will use revolving sushi as a theme to study the conditions in the fishing industry and think about global food resources.  Following this, the students take the 18-question Revolving Sushi Quiz.  The goal is not to get the correct answers on the quiz, but for students to recognise various issues.  The content of the quiz ranges widely from the “meat” of the sushi to the top fishing locale to tuna farming to sushi consumption in Japan.
    For example, the website of the sushi chain store Muten Kura Zushi indicates where each one of the sushi “meats” comes from.  Question 2 was created based on this information.  When students learn that there are very few sushi “meats” that come from Japan, and that the sushi rice that one assumes is made by hand is actually made by a “sushi rice robot,” there are voices of surprise.
    Further, they learn about the change in fish hauls and the high-efficiency fishing boats that can catch all fish if that is what is wanted, and begin to realise the background behind the exhaustion of fishing resources.

* Fish farming: A method in which young fish are caught in the sea and then raised in
ponds along the coast, given food to fatten them, and then shipped

Answers: Question 2: Pacific saury; Question 7: sea urchin; Question 11: a)15 kg; Question 12: e)90%

The Riddle of Toro
    Then students look at a picture and think about what is going on in the picture.  The picture is of fish farming.  The reason that toro (fatty tuna) is cheap is due to fish farming, as the teacher himself learned through his research.  There are 70 countries which export tuna to Japan.  The students use newspaper articles and other materials to recognise this reality for themselves.  Along the coast, there is a giant, round net, and in it baby tuna are placed and grown.  This happens in the Mediterranean and the coast of Spain, the southern coast of Australia and other places.  In order to increase the weight of a black tuna by one kilogram, 15 kilograms of fish food are needed.  The sardines and squid that become the food for the tuna are caught along the coasts of Africa, but as a result of this, it has become difficult for some Africans to catch the small fish they eat for food, and the students express sadness at the fact that there are areas in Africa where people have had to surrender their fishing rights.   In the case of natural tuna, 15%-20% becomes the tasty “fatty tuna” called toro.  However, in the case of farm-raised tuna, the teacher explained, toro can be an astounding 90%, which caused some of the students to react that that was “disgusting.”

What percentage is toro?

The Role of Consumers
    The latter half of the quiz consists of questions related to being a consumer.  There are also questions related to labelling.  For example, even when a Japanese fishing boat catches fish off the coast of Spain or Micronesia, if the fish are unloaded at the port of Misaki in Japan, the teacher mentions that there are cases when they are labeled as products of Misaki.  For farmed fish, the country that farmed the fish which may have been caught elsewhere labels the fish as its own product.
    In addition, students are surprised by the fact that one-third of the fish species caught around Japan are being exhausted.  At present there are only 125,000 fishermen in Japan.  When students hear that for a mackerel pike that costs 100 yen in the supermarket, the fisherman gets 25 yen at the wholesale market, they respond that that is too cheap.  At present, fuel costs are high, so the fishermen’s situation is more severe.  The average salary of Japan’s coastal fishermen in 2008 was only 2,590,000 yen (about $26,000), and students respond with voices of shock.

Cutting frozen tuna

Consideration of Sustainable Fishing from Multiple Perspectives
    After the quiz, the students watched the program NHK World Data Map: The Fish Are Disappearing and become conscious again of the problems surrounding present-day fishing.  In the second hour, students discussed the opinions of people with various perspectives and aimed to arrive at conclusions.  They had interviewed the president of a fish wholesaling company, the president of a tuna specialty shop at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, a staff member of the World Wildlife Fund Japan, the assistant manager of a neighbourhood revolving sushi shop, and mothers of junior high school students and created photos and comment sheets for each.  The students read these and thought about how “sustainable fishing” could be accomplished.  A goal was for students to see that people who held different jobs and positions had points in common and points of difference regarding fish resources.
    Related articles from newspapers were also passed out as educational materials.  After having a chance to deepen their understanding, students were divided up into the roles of consumers, companies in the fishing industry, countries and international institutions, mass media, retailer and wholesalers, and environmental and other organisations and asked to think about what could each do to increase the sustainability of fishing.  The students wrote out their opinions based on these roles and placed the opinions into a chart.  At the end of the lesson, students seemed to feel that if one thinks from various perspectives, there are things that can be done to address the problem.

Opinions Involving Thinking from Different Perspectives
 Things One Can Do
 We consumers
  •  Do not eat fish whose extinction is predicted
  • Eat small fish.  Make effort to use methods to cook the fish that make it delicious
  • Don’t leave food over.
  • Enjoy eating fish (even cheaper fish)
 Companies in the fishing industry
  •  Do not catch small fish that seem like they will grow and catch big fish that seem to have completely grown
 Countries and international institutions
  • Limit the amount of fish that can be caught.  Provide subsidies as necessary to individual fishermen
  • When each country is together at the discussion table, place limits on the amount of fish that can be caught
 Mass media
  • Report on the fact that the numbers of fish are decreasing and call for limitations on fishing
  • Gain the interest of people in the country by raising the issue of whatwill happen if people continue in this way and disseminatinginformation about particular fish that may become extinct
 Retail stores (supermarkets, fish stores, department stores), wholesalers
  • In the places where fish is sold, place posters on the walls that encourage customers to think about the environment as they make their purchases
  • Do not stock fish that are caught through over-fishing, catching ofmixed fish, or other bad methods.  Indicate on product labels themethod by which the fish was caught
 Environmental and other organisations
  • To award a certification mark to fish that have been caught by maintaining limits and using proper methods
  • To conduct surveys of over-fishing and provide information to citizens, countries and international institutions
 New plans
  • To create waves that sharks do not like in order to avoid catching sharks when fishing for other fish
  • Research on the shape of hooks in order to prevent mixing the fish that are caught

Purchasing Fish That Are Caught in Ways That Are Good for the Environment
    After this, as homework, the teacher has students write a report on the topic: “Ways to Create Sustainable Fishing.”  After the lesson, some students are found to have conducted investigations on their own.  For example, students suggested the ideas “If one produces a certain frequency of waves, sharks and other unnecessary fish will not come; one should take care to use this method so that one will not catch sharks” and “Restaurants should designate various danger marks and ‘best choice’ marks for different fish.”  There was even a student who proposed that the student council become involved by encouraging students to be diligent in turning off the lights.  Students’ work is evaluated mainly through these reports.

Student Report #1 (excerpt)
     In homework for social studies class, I came to understand “the issue of tuna” which had not affected me before beyond seeing the news.  I also understood that not only was the damage to tuna severe, but to the fishing industry as a whole.  Japan, which consumes a large volume of fish, has probably damaged the environment by importing so much fish.  Even if the amount of fish we eat has to go down a little, I think that is okay if fish don’t disappear and we are able to eat them in the future.  I think it’s the responsibility of humans who have disturbed the biological cycle to cooperate to protect fish like people did in Akita Prefecture concerning their local fish, the “hata-hata,” or sandfish.  In order to do this, I think it’s important for consumers to look at the truth together.

Student Report #2 (excerpt)
    There are people in the world who get their nutrition from fish and fish are an important source of nutrition.   Thus, if fish become extinct, there will be many people in trouble.
    Therefore, I thought of the following plan.  First, we should stop overfishing and mixed fishing in which other species of fish are caught accidentally, and we should not catch fish that aren’t useful.  Then, on the packages of fish sold in stores, we should indicate in writing what method was used to catch the fish.  Consumers should buy fish that were caught using good methods.  If we do that, consumers can have a good feeling when they eat the fish, and if fish that are the result of overfishing stop selling, I think people around the world will stop things like overfishing.  It would be great if we do this and the sea could return little by little to the way it was long ago.

To Expand ESD
    The lessons concerning “revolving sushi” are special in a way.  Motoyama says that even in lessons that use a regular textbook, incorporating an ESD perspective is an issue.  To incorporate ESD, one must present various perspectives and approach an issue from multiple angles, and it is important to create at least 5 and even 10 minutes for students to think themselves about the issue.  Further, through participatory learning, one can increase student learning.  Moreover, being cognizant that there are many students who hesitate to express their own values, Motoyama says that it is important to enable students to say: “I thought this because of this reason.”
    According to Motoyama, students need the experience of discovering issues through their study with which they would like to become involved.  With this as a base, students’ interests can spread to other areas.  Motoyama says that he would like to help children’s learning by creating this catalyst.  It became apparent in the revolving sushi lesson that students looked forward to being introduced to inspiring adults and that this was the highlight of the lessons.  To expose students who will go out into society to various points of view and help them gain the capacity to think about current issues for themselves, Motoyama continues to keep his antennae up searching for appropriate material for new lessons.

Schoolwide Implementation
    At Honden Junior High School (Principal: Hiromichi Saijo), every year the whole school participates in “integrated studies” activities together.  The school invites guests to speak on themes such as international issues, information, the environment, welfare, and peace, and the whole school listens to these talks.  After this, time is created for each one of the students to determine a theme that interests her/him, investigate it, and present about it.  Mr. Motoyama says that the engagement with the whole school promotes an intellectual unity among the teachers.  This approach has been practiced for ten years already and there are students who have gone into international jobs as a result of these lessons.  In addition, for these several years the research theme of the school has been “Methods of Instruction that Help Students to Gain Excellent Skills in Expression.”  Time is allocated for teachers to show their lessons to one another and for teachers to share the strengths and points for improvement with one another at regular meetings held to focus on this research.  They have discovered that it is best to emphasise the strengths.  At Honden Junior High School the idea of sharing learning (to grow by sharing learning with peers) is emphasised both among the teachers and the students.

★Teaching Unit Goals

  • To use revolving sushi as a hint that confirms our consumption of a great amount of fish resources
  • To learn the system that enables us to eat tuna so cheaply
  • To refer to the comments of people representing various perspectives and to share with the whole class the various ideas for sustainable fishing and protection of the earth’s food resources

Reason for Establishment of the Teaching Unit
  • To develop students’ interest in and willingness to take action concerning current issues
  • To develop an attitude of active participation by students through lessons in which students are active participants
  • To enable students to collaborate with other students during lessons and to provide some opportunities for students to learn through debate

★Lesson Plans
 First Session: Revolving Sushi Lesson (First Half)
 Introduction: Listen to experiences concerning revolving sushi
Development: Take the “Revolving Sushi Quiz”
Summary: Listen to the NHK Video World Data Map: Fish Are Disappearing (First half)
 Second Session: Revolving Sushi Lesson (Second Half)
 Introduction: Hearing from the assistant manager of Choshi-maru (revolving sushi restaurant)
Development: Comments and photos
Summary: Listen to the NHK Video World Data Map: Fish Are Disappearing (Second half)