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The lesson focuses on the widespread practice of plastic packaging and the problems it creates. It is one of a series of lessons within the World’s Largest Lesson that explores the circular economy. Students evaluate the effectiveness of the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ method of managing waste and are then tasked with designing alternative approaches to packaging that removes waste entirely from the system. The lesson consists of two parts:
In part one, students examine case studies, view slides & animations, conduct research and take part in discussions to familiarize themselves with the key issues related to the widespread use of plastics and the important differences between linear and circular economies.
In part two, students examine current processes that go into packaging potato chips or similar products and the waste problems that result. Then they are introduced to a design and prototyping process that they will use as a guide to create a circular, waste-free alternative.
Students will present and discuss their prototypes and compile a list of individual, personal actions that will be required in order to move to a circular economy.
The inquiry nature of this resource should appeal to secondary teachers from a number of curriculum areas including economics, social studies, geography, chemistry and environmental studies. While it serves as a stand-alone activity it also supports other World Largest Lesson resources dealing with the circular economy.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Very Good|
In this inquiry, students review different models and case studies and come up with their own solutions to current design problems in packaging.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
The resource requires students to consider the economic, social and environmental considerations that should go into product (in this case packaging) designs.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The context of a linear vs a circular economy in which these activities are placed addresses the complexities involved in resolving problems related to plastic packaging.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Poor/Not considered|
Students develop action ideas and plans but implementation is not a requirement.
|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
|Values Education||Very Good|
In the concluding activity, students are specifically required to consider their own roles and responsibilities in addressing problems resulting from plastic packaging.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
|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||Good|
The lessons effectively reveal the negative impact that plastics and the linear design used to manufacture packaging are having on the environment. Students are asked to take responsible actions to address these impacts.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The issues related to plastic waste in the environment is highly relevant to the students' experiences.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The discussion of a linear vs a circular economy incorporates past, present and future designs.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
While the lessons support the circular economy, students are provided with balanced information and the opportunity to draw their own conclusions.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The resource is appropriate for use across a range of subject areas.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
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
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The nature of the inquiry (reading, discussing, viewing, designing) addresses a range of learning styles.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
There is a definite 'real world' aspect to this inquiry, especially in the design activity.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in groups.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
While the lesson involves students producing a product, there is an absence of tools, guidelines or suggestions for assessment.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Very Good|
Students explore plastics, plastic packaging and design models with the help of a number of relevant and engaging case studies.
|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|
Through the guided inquiry approach employed in the resource, students develop their own ideas and create unique solutions to design problems in plastic packaging.
|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.|