How does plastic affect the environment?

Lesson overview

In this biology Key Stage 3 (KS3) lesson, students learn how plastics affect the marine environment. This lesson is focuses on the physical harm caused by plastics to marine organisms. Included are teacher resources that promote students to become advocates for reducing plastic waste to protect our oceans.

Learning outcomes

Order most common types of plastic waste

Describe how plastic waste impacts the environment

Predict how plastic waste impacts a variety of marine organisms

Formulate solutions to plastic waste issues

Lesson steps
  1. What is the most common trash? (10 mins)
    Students order the types of waste found washed on beaches from the most to least common.
  2. How does plastic affect the environment? (15 mins)
    Students move around the classroom to investigate how different types of plastics waste impact the environment.
  3. Marine life cards (10 mins)
    Students have a set of marine animal cards. They are presented with information and must decide which animal is going to be most and least effected.
  4. Plastics advocacy (20 mins)
    Students apply what they have learned by choosing one of two activities. Either making a poster or writing a letter.
  5. Marine animal reflection (5 mins)
    Students write a reflection on what they have learned in the lesson from the perspective of a marine animal.