Plastic is everywhere. One of the reasons for this is its amazing properties that allow it to be used for many different purposes. But today, scientists estimate that every minute, one rubbish truck of plastic enters our ocean! The problem with plastic is not the material itself but how we use it and our throwaway culture. Learning about why we love using plastics so much is an important step towards finding solutions that will end plastic pollution
Ages 7+ (adult supervision)
Materials have different properties that make them suitable for different uses. Plastic is very versatile, meaning that it can be used for lots of different things
One of the properties that can be important in choosing a material is strength.
In this activity, you are going to build a really strong bridge, one with plastic and one with paper. You will investigate, how strong each material is.
You can develop the ideas in this activity further using some of the teacher resources. What are plastics? Part one is a science lesson on materials for ages 7-11, and for older students, try Why are plastics useful? a full science lesson for ages 11-14. In particular, have a look at Student Sheet 1a Materials card match to develop understanding about material properties.
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Cross-curricular | Ages 7-11
Ocean Plastic ages 7-11 unit is a KS1 teacher resource that introduces students to the issue of plastic pollution. Students study materials, their properties and are inspired to enact change in their communities.
Science | Ages 11-14
Ocean Plastics Science ages 11-14 unit is a KS3 teacher resource combining both biology and chemistry. Students discover the journey plastic takes from manufacture, use, and disposal into the ocean. Included are teacher resources that allow students to emulate real research conducted by The University of Plymouth.