The Pacific Ocean and plastic pollution with Jo Royle

Lesson overview

Nearing the end of their ocean voyage, students will investigate one of the issues facing the world’s ocean, plastic pollution. Students will begin by learning about the impact of litter on marine life. They will then explore the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and how they can be applied to the issue of marine plastic pollution. Students will then be guided to reuse common plastic waste to make a new useful object such as a bird-feeder or snack box.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the impact of human activity on the environment
  • Understand the importance of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle)
  • Reuse plastic waste to create a high quality product
  • Review product design and making against criteria

Lesson steps

Students are briefed on the ‘Reusing plastic bottles’ activity in the coming lesson and are asked to bring in appropriate items of plastic litter to make their items.

  1. Mission statement from Jo Royle (10 mins)
    Students are shown images of the impact of plastic litter on marine life. Students are then introduced to their lesson’s mission by Jo Royle. Opportunities for literacy practice using Jo Royle’s opening statement.
  2. The impact of plastic pollution (15 mins)
    Show students basic infographics on the issue of marine plastic litter and use photographs as discussion points. Introduce students to the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and their relevance to the issue of marine plastics.
  3. Reusing plastic bottles (45 mins)
    Students use their prepared plastic bottles to make new, high quality items.
  4. Making review (10 mins)
    Students judge their new plastic bottle creations against a set of criteria.
  5. Reflection (10 mins)
    Students make a pledge based on their learning from the lesson. This pledge should be based around the 3Rs and the issue of marine plastic.


By outcome
To support lower ability students, focus on reusing a milk carton to make a snack box. Use Student Sheet 9b to facilitate this.
To challenge higher ability students, focus on making a high quality product. Use Student Sheet 9c to facilitate this.