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A Million Bottles a Minute

Closing the Plastic Loop

Elementary, Middle

Description

A Million Bottles a Minute is an educational program designed to raise awareness of the single-use plastic issue. The resource provides students with an overview of the plastics problem through a variety of engaging and hands-on activities. Students learn about its impact, widespread existence, and ways they can make a difference and become part of the solution to the problem. The resource includes eight activities to help teachers educate and engage students on the importance of the global plastics issue.

  • Open your Eyes to The Reality of Plastic Pollution - Students watch an introductory video and learn how plastic has a devastating effect on animals, the environment and human health.
  • My Day in Plastics – Students discover how much plastic they use each day by writing or drawing everything they use throughout the day.
  • Hidden Plastics – Students test their knowledge about hidden plastics by playing a sorting activity.
  • Single-Use or Reusable – Students learn about the different varieties of plastic and test their understanding of single-use or reusable plastic items.
  • What is a Circular Economy? – Students learn about the difference between a linear and circular economy and what it takes to close the loop.
  • Get Inspired: Youth Taking Action – Students are inspired by learning about other students who are taking action against single-use plastics.
  • Commit to Action – Students commit to making changes in their single-use plastic and how they can make small changes in their daily lives.
  • Extend Your Learning – Students use an app to track their personal plastics footprint.

The resource also provides teachers with an overview of single-use plastics and a list of educational classroom learning resources such as lesson plans, videos and books which could be use to extend the learning.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The resource supports the current issues of single-use plastic and plastic pollution
  • materials provided are organized and easy to use
  • the resource provides background information for teachers
  • offers a variety of different activities to engage the students
  • the activities provided are interesting and age-appropriate
  • the resource provides a list of additional lesson plans, videos for teachers to extend the learning.

Weaknesses

  • incorporate some learning activities that encourage younger students to discover and build knowledge for themselves.
  • there are no rubrics or assessment tools provided for teachers
  • provide opportunities for students to present their learning to their peers and the larger community.
  • incorporate some explicitly-taught skills for students to take effective action.
  • no modifications suggested for learners needing support
  • no outdoor activities are suggested

Recommendation of how and where to use it

Plastic pollution is one of the most current and pressing environmental issues. This resource allows teachers to meet curriculum expectations through engaging and environmentally-focused learning activities. The resource is well-organized and easy to use. It would be a great addition to support any World Ocean Day and Canadian Environment Week activities.

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Waste Management (3)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Students watch a video how plastics are harming the environment and our overall well-being. It's a call to action to stop the use of plastic. Students also listen to facts about plastic from different sources.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

Attention to multiple dimensions is provided through an age appropriate manner. The resource strongly supports the environmental dimension and touches on the social and economic manner through the concept of reusing, recycling, and looking beyond the 3Rs such as regifting, refilling, etc.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Very Good

Activity 5 The Circular Economy - linear vs circular addresses the complexities involved in resolving problems related to plastic.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

At the end of the workshop, students commit to reducing their single plastic use by choosing two ways or places they think they could reduce their use of plastic.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Satisfactory

Students are given the opportunity to identify how they use plastic throughout the day. 

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

The activities encourage students to look for more environmentally friendly alternative to single-use plastic. There are no outdoor activities suggested.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Students look at the amount of single-use plastic they use in a day. They list the items that they play with, eat, and see that are made from plastic. 

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Very Good

The circular economy activity discusses past, present and future designs. The presentation encourages the use of materials being used in a closed loop fashion rather than being used once and discarded.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Students are not steered towards one right answer. They are provided with information about single-use plastic and can draw their own conclusions. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • Science
  • Social Studies
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

Students will choose two places they can reduce their plastic use and commit to the action.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good

The activities include visual, auditory and kinesthetic approaches.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

Students identify the plastic items they use on a daily basis. They list the items they use, eat, see and wear that are made of plastic.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Students share their plastic item list with a classmate.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

There are no assessment tools such as rubrics or reflection questions provided.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered

There are no opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge to peers or the community.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered

Not considered in this resource

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Poor/Not considered

No suggestions are provided to extend the learning.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.