Do zooplankton eat microplastics? (Conclusion)

Lesson overview

In this lesson, students return to their experiments from Lesson 5, and observe the gut contents of the brine shrimp, applying model conclusions to what they can see. Students develop their ability to write scientific conclusions using the secondary data from the research team. The lesson ends with students considering the implications of microplastics being consumed by zooplankton on a wide scale.

Learning outcomes

  • Say what results show (Foundation)
  • Describe patterns in results (Developing)
  • Describe how results support hypotheses (Developing)
  • Explain your conclusion with science (Competent)
  • Explain conclusions’ wider impacts (Competent)
  • Support conclusions with numerical values (Expert)
  • Describe the limitations of conclusions (Expert)

Lesson steps

  1. The story so far… (10 mins)
    Use the slides to connect this lesson to the previous lesson’s learning, examining the hypothesis that zooplankton eat microplastics.
  2. Practical work (10 mins)
    In small groups, students complete the investigations they set-up last lesson.
    They examine the gut contents of the brine shrimp to see if zooplankton eat microplastics.
  3. Model conclusions (15 mins)
    Using the model conclusions about their brine shrimp experiment on Student Sheet 6a, students develop their ability to write scientific conclusions.
    Using the slides, students develop a mnemonic to help them remember the structure of a good scientific conclusion.
  4. Writing conclusions (20 mins)
    Students demonstrate their learning by writing conclusions based on the graphs they created in the previous lesson.
  5. Self-reflection (5 mins)
    Using slides, students consider how alternative ‘teachers’ may have delivered the lesson.

Flip it

Ask students to watch the video 'Investigating the impact of microplastics' prior to the lesson and answer the question ‘if your brine shrimp eat microplastics, what effect could this have in the food web and carbon cycle?’.