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Plastic a boon or bane?

Secondary, Middle

Description

This lesson plan educates students about the omnipresence of plastic, explains the negative impact of plastic on the environment, and helps them reflect on different alternatives that could be used instead of plastic by encouraging them to become more eco-friendly.

Through a series of short videos and a personal plastic audit, students will reflect and share their findings to inform and educate other students in the school.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource teaches students how to analyze and use their critical thinking skills when looking at plastic consumption.

Strengths

  • This resource is easy to follow and the videos are well adapted for the age group
  • Formative assessment ideas are explained in the resource

Weaknesses

  • No summative assessments are provided in this resource
  • Activities for learners with difficulties are not included

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This critical thinking lesson would be great introduction to 3R case studies or for units focusing on environmental issues, waste management, responsible consumption. Curricular links for Science units dealing with environmental issues, habitat, and climate change. Geography and social studies units that emphasize the link between human activity, and environmental and economic sustainability issues.

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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 Satisfactory

Emphasis is placed on the fact that plastic pollution is an issue. 

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

The activity requires students to consider the various causes and impacts of plastics in our environment and provide opportunities to finding solutions. 

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

The videos present an appropriate representation of the complexity of the issue and gives examples of simple steps to becoming more eco- friendly. 

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

Students conduct a personal audit of their plastic use and look at alternative solutions. Students share and discuss their results and alternatives to plastic use.

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

The resource includes activities that require students to identify, clarify and express their own feelings about the issue of plastic pollution.

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

All the activities raise awareness of and promote concern for the natural world. 

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 document the different types of plastic they use over two days with details of the purpose of use, including advantages, disadvantages and alternatives.

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 Satisfactory

Students will be made aware of the increasing consumption over time and it’s acceleration of plastic pollution in the environment. 

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 collect and analyze their own data by looking at their own family’s consumption of plastic.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

The content and process objectives offered in this resource address outcomes in science, social studies, and citizenship education.

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 Good

The resource begins with videos that are used as inquiry activities to demonstrate the amount of trash individuals generated and how much of that trash could impact the natural environment. 

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 Satisfactory

The lesson offers different instructional approaches such as videos, discussions, collaboration, and reflection. 

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
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 have the opportunity to share in groups during one of the activities. 

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 Satisfactory

An idea of a formative assessment tools is included.

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 Satisfactory

This is done through group discussions.  

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
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
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.