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Hidden Plastics

Elementary, Middle

Description

Students will be introduced to the term hidden plastics and will participate in an activity that analyzes everyday items that could potentially contain these materials. Students will view the Hidden Plastics video and explore the associated infographic from the 10,000 Changes website to learn more. The lesson plan is designed to dive deeper into the plastic issue and move towards taking action.

Students will:

  • learn about everyday items that contain hidden plastics
  • map out the hidden plastic items they use in their homes and daily lives
  • research how they can replace an item containing hidden plastics that they use every day with a more environmentally friendly one.
  • create a poster or infographic to inform others on how they can replace a plastic item with a more environmentally friendly option
  • share what they have learned with their peers and community to help educate others
  • participate in a gallery walk of completed projects and create an awareness campaign about hidden plastics

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • formulate questions
  • gather and organize
  • interpret and analyze

Strengths

  • the resource supports the current issue of hidden plastics and plastic pollution
  • resource is organized and easy to use
  • the campaign awareness allows the students to extend their learning to the community
  • a variety of different activities to engage the students

Weaknesses

  • limited outdoor activity
  • no rubrics or assessment tools provided
  • no modifications for learners needing support

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Ecological Footprint
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Source Reduction

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Students conduct their own research and consider different points of view regarding more environmentally friendly/plastic free options.

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

Consideration of all three dimensions are required when searching for an environmentally friendly/plastic free option.

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 Good

Students research alternative solutions for household items with hidden plastics. The video and infographic show the complexity of the hidden plastic issue

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

Students will research how they can replace an item containing hidden plastics that they use every day with a more environmentally friendly one. They will create an awareness campaign in their school and community.

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 Good

Students create an awareness poster to highlight how they believe others could replace some items with more environmentally friendly items.

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 activity encourages students to look for a more environmentally friendly alternative.

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 Very Good

Students analyze everyday items in their home that could potentially contain hidden plastics.

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 Poor/Not considered
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 Very Good

Students will determine how best to replace an item containing hidden plastic with a more environmentally friendly option. They are not steered towards a right answer.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

  • Social Studies
  • Art
  • ELA

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 Very Good

Students will research how they can replace an item containing hidden plastics that they use every day with a more environmentally friendly one.

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 Good

Students will map out the hidden plastic items they use in their homes and everyday lives.

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 Good

Students participate in a  think-pair-share activity with other students and compare their lists.

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 Good

A few assessment opportunities are 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 Good

Students participate in a gallery walk of the projects and create an awareness campaign for the school and 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 Good

A few 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.