Where are plastics? Part two

Lesson overview

In this lesson students discover some of the incredible uses for plastic i.e. medical science and space exploration and reflect on why single-use plastics have become unpopular. Students examine data from a sample of litter collected on Henderson Island. They go on to consider where the plastic litter could have come from and create a bar graph representing this data.

Learning outcomes
  • Examine data from Henderson Island
  • Create a bar graph demonstrating the amount of plastic litter collected
  • Explore important uses of plastic
  • Create a poster demonstrating the pros and cons of plastics
  • Reflect on societies needs / wants related to plastics
Lesson steps
  1. Beach litter survey (10 mins)
    Students examine the data from the beach survey at Henderson Island in the Pacific and discuss how various items could have arrived there.
  2. Data analysis (10 mins)
    Using this data students create a bar graph demonstrating what percentage of the pollution is plastic and draw conclusions about its origin.
  3. Fantastic plastic! (10 mins)
    Students look at Gallery: Fantastic plastic to discover some of the fascinating ways plastic is used to improve our health, life and scientific endeavours.
  4. Pros and cons (15 mins)
    Students choose two uses of plastic that they feel represent the pros and cons of plastics and create a poster illustrating these uses and their impacts.
  5. Who needs plastic? (15 mins)
    Students write an entry in their Innovation Diary, summarising how they feel about the different uses for plastics, which are important and which are unnecessary.