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The Reality of Plastics

Secondary, Middle

Description

Plastic. It's super useful but it's also a big problem for the environment. Enough plastic is thrown away every year to circle the earth four times! The main issue is that plastic doesn't break down, meaning it sticks around for a very long time. This video gives a quick overview of the scope of the plastic problem and what some people are doing to try to solve it.

This video and the accompanying activities were produced by KQED as part of the Engineering for Good unit. This unit was designed to help teachers integrate engineering into their science classroom with a fun meaningful hands-on project. The unit provides support for teachers to guide students through the engineering design process to develop solutions to a real-world problem. Engineering for Good is focused on developing solutions for impacts of plastics on the environment, though the specific problem the students tackle is defined by them.

General Assessment

Strengths

There is increasing awareness of the role of plastics in our lives and the consequences of our dependence on this most convenient of products. The video serves to alert students to this reality and provides them with some basic information about the amount of plastic produced and the benefits and the negative impacts of our use. An accompanying unit provides students with a framework in which they may begin to consider solutions to mitigate what has become a serious threat to the planet and its inhabitants.  

The video has a certain shock value while the unit of study offers some hope that solutions are possible.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The video and the accompanying unit of study may be used in support of those units of study dealing with

  • waste management
  • responsible consumerism
  • role of regulations in defence of the environment
  • the promises offered by STEM research in meeting this challenge

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

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    • Grade 7
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      • Environmental Science
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        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Commitment to Action
        • Environment and Outdoor Education: Environmental Investigations
      • Science
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        • Environmental Chemistry
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Environmental Chemistry (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
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    • Grade 10
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        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Century: Natural Resources
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        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
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        • Canadian Geography 1202: Natural and Human Systems
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        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Resource Management and Population Dynamics
  • Nova Scotia
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        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment
        • Citizenship 9: Global Citizenship
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        • Geography 10: Spaceship Earth
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        • Experiential Science 10, Terrestial Systems: Resource Management and Population Dynamics
  • Ontario
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        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
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        • Interactions in the Environment
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        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
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        • Science (Academic):Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
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        • Geography of Canada 421A: Future Connections
      • Science
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        • Applied Science 701A: Decisions and Perspectives
        • Science 421A: Decisions and Perspectives
  • Quebec

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Ecological Footprint
  • Economics (1)

    • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Science and Technology (1)

    • Appropriate Technology
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Solid Waste Disposal
    • Source Reduction