Ocean Plastics

Science | Ages 11-14

Ocean Plastics Science is a Key Stage 3 (KS3) resource combining both biology and chemistry.

Students are taken on the journey of plastic, exploring how plastics are manufactured, used, and disposed into the ocean. Students will learn the science behind what makes plastics both brilliant for everyday purposes and devastating to our oceans and marine life.

Included in this topic are teacher resources that promote students to conduct authentic research, emulating research conducted by The University of Plymouth. Students will test the properties of plastics, investigate compostable alternatives, and analyse case studies to discover how plastics can physically and chemically harm marine life.

You may wish to introduce ocean literacy to your students before commencing this unit by teaching our short Oceans for beginners unit of work for ages 11-14.

Lesson 1: How are plastics made?

In this lesson, students are invited to learn how we make plastics. Students will gain on overview of all processes involved.

Lesson 2: Why are plastics useful?

This lesson allows students to design and carry out an investigation to compare the properties of plastic with other materials.

Lesson 3: What happens to plastic when you throw it away?

This lesson invites students to consider the journey plastic goes on after use. Students will investigate biodegradable alternatives.

Lesson 4: How does plastic affect the environment?

Students identify the biggest contributors to plastic pollution in oceans and the impact that these have on the marine environment.

Lesson 5: Plastics and bioaccumulation

This lesson focuses on how pollutants from plastics, accumulate in the food chain. Students model how these move in the food chain.

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