What can we do to reduce ocean plastic pollution?

Lesson overview

This first lesson in this design and technology Key Stage 3 (KS3) unit introduces students to ocean plastic pollution. Students learn how the waste hierarchy is used to encourage a reduction in plastic use. Using the various teacher resources students will link the waste hierarchy to the life cycle of plastic, thinking about how the methods used in recycling link to those used in the redesign processes and how those affect the lifetime of plastic products.

Learning outcomes
  • List the uses of plastics
  • Discuss the importance of plastic
  • Define the 6 Rs
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of recycling in the UK
  • Describe the life cycle of plastic
Lesson steps
  1. Introduction (5 mins)
    Students start the unit of work by thinking about what plastic they have used today.
  2. Why is plastic a concern? (10 mins)
    Students learn about the importance of plastic. Students will then complete a true or false quiz, which looks at the scale of plastic production.
  3. What is the waste hierarchy? (15 mins)
    Independently students study the waste hierarchy and the 6 Rs, considering what actions are required for the various levels of the hierarchy.
  4. What is the product life cycle of plastic? (20 mins)
    Students complete a decision making exercise. After reading some information and statistics about UK recycling, students consider the positives and negatives.
  5. Sustainability? (10 mins)
    Students will draw a flow chart that shows the product life cycle of plastic.