Plastics fieldwork (school grounds)

Lesson overview

This lesson provides a framework for conducting plastics fieldwork in the school grounds. As per most fieldwork, it consists of three phases: preparation, conducting fieldwork, and then analysis and conclusions. Depending on your school timetable and ability of your class, you will need to set aside three to four hours to complete this fieldwork activity. Suggestions for challenge tasks are included for more able students, if you teach a mixed ability class.

Learning outcomes
  • Plan fieldwork including risk assessment
  • Plan and carry out data collection
  • Represent data using tables, charts and maps
  • Analyse fieldwork data and draw conclusions
  • Suggest ways of improving the area in terms of reducing plastic pollution
  • Evaluate fieldwork methods and results
Lesson steps
  1. Focus of the fieldwork (15 mins)
    Introduce the fieldwork topic and the geographical enquiry cycle. Students will consider their fieldwork on plastics in the school grounds and place this in context of their learning on ocean plastics.
  2. Evaluating environmental quality (15 mins)
    Students will be assessing the environmental quality of different sites across the school grounds. During this lesson step, students will decide on the criteria that should make up an environmental quality score.
  3. Fieldwork methodology (15 mins)
    Students decide on the methodology they will use for their data collection and complete the introduction and methodology sections of their fieldwork report.
  4. Risk assessment (15 mins)
    Introduce students to the need for risk assessments and ask them to conduct a risk assessment for their school grounds fieldwork.
  5. Conduct fieldwork (60 mins)
    Students conduct the fieldwork, recording data for all sites using their fieldwork record sheets and through photography.
  6. Analyse data (30 mins)
    On returning to the classroom, students analyse their data using tables, charts and maps. These will form part of the overall fieldwork report.
  7. Draw conclusions (20 mins)
    Students draw conclusions from their data and evaluate their fieldwork methods. They will also develop suggestions for improving the environmental quality of sites in the school grounds.
  8. Focus for change (10 mins)
    Students share ideas for improving the school grounds. Common themes and ideas can be presented to school management for implementation.