What impact can plastic have? Part one

Lesson overview

In this lesson students are introduced to microplastics and ocean plastic pollution and begin to understand how and why it occurs through investigating one of three case studies. They go on to discover some of the dangers plastic pollution and microplastics can pose to marine life and consider how entire food webs are impacted.

Learning outcomes
  • Understand ocean plastic pollution statistics
  • Investigate different ways plastic pollution affects marine life
  • Explore three case studies related to ocean plastic pollution
  • Understand the impact of microplastics on food webs
  • Reflect on how plastic pollution impacts the wider food web
Lesson steps
  1. Plastic stats (10 mins)
    Students explore some of the recent statistics relating to ocean plastics pollution and begin to understand the scale of the problem.
  2. The plastic pollution problem (10 mins)
    Using Gallery: Marine plastic pollution students are introduced to some of the ways in which marine life can be adversely affected by plastics.
  3. Case study (15 mins)
    Students examine one of three case studies outlining how the albatross, green turtle and zooplankton have been found to be threatened by different types of plastic pollution.
  4. Food webs (15 mins)
    Students explore how species are interdependent through creating an ocean food web. This illustrates that when one species is threatened, it has an impact on the wider ecosystem.
  5. Innovation Diary (10 mins)
    Students summarise what they learnt and reflect on what had the most impact.