In this lesson students follow the lifecycle of a PET bottle. Using Google Maps, students track the journey of a plastic bottle during its lifetime and map the possible outcomes of where it ends up. Students go on to discover how plastic is recycled into other plastics. They then reuse a plastic bottle by completing a craft activity where they make a snack box or bird feeder. It may be possible to organise a speaker to join this lesson, some local authorities offer schools programmes or outreach workshops.
- Explore what happens to a plastic bottle after its first and only use
- Map the journey of a plastic bottle from production to recycling or litter
- Understand the recycling process
- Demonstrate how single use plastics can be reused
- Explore alternative uses for a range of discarded plastics
- The PET bottle (10 mins)
Students discuss what they think happens to plastic bottles once they’ve finished with them and explore some statistics about plastic use, recycling and litter.
- The plastic journey (20 mins)
Using Google Maps students plot the journey of a PET bottle from the drilling of oil to the retailer, right through to its arrival at a recycling centre. Note: Students will require a Google account to complete this activity.
- Bird-feeder / snack box (20 mins)
Students complete Activity 3b: Bird-feeder and / or Activity 3c: Snack box. They then consider the alternatives to throwing plastics away and evaluate their new product.
- Alternative thinking (10 mins)
Students mind map ideas of alternative uses for single-use plastics.