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What is Your Plastics Consumption Footprint?

Secondary

Description

The resource is one of 12 found in Green Learning’s ECO 360- a comprehensive study of the circular economy. This particular lesson encourages students to use the 5R approach to reduce plastic consumption. Learning is based on the Plastics Pollution Primer and Action Toolkit that provides students with

• background information on the nature of plastic pollution and its effects on the environment and human health.

• direction and tools for determining their personal plastic footprints

• details of the 5 R approach to limit plastic production & consumption

• examples of successful plastic reduction efforts

• direction, tools and support for launching individual and/or class action projects

All materials required for students and teachers are included in the resource.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Data collection and analysis

Strengths

  • The resource examines an important issue with a focus on knowledge.
  • The resource is thorough and easy to use.
  • Teaching and learning are very well supported.
  • Information is current and up-to-date.
  • The lesson design does a good job connecting the issue to the students' own experiences.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This lesson will be of particular interest to chemistry and biology teachers looking to connect knowledge and content to important current issues and to the student's own experience.  It will also help students see how the integration of subject knowledge (chemistry and biology in this case) is required for a deeper understanding of complex issues and events.

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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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 9
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        • Environmental Chemistry
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Environmental Chemistry (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
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      • Biology
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        • Biology 20: Ecosystems and Population Change
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        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 11
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      • Chemistry
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        • Chemistry 11: Organic chemistry and its applications have significant implications for human health, society, and the environment
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        • Science for Citizens 11:Scientific processes and knowledge inform our decisions and impact our daily lives
  • Manitoba
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        • Senior 2 Science: Dynamics of Ecosystems
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        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
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        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
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        • Science 9 Ecosystem Dynamics: Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
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        • Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
        • Science 10 Science for Sustainable Societies
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        • Science 1206: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Environmental Chemistry
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        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Ocean Ecology
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        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
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        • Science 10: Sustainability of Ecosystems
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        • Chemistry 11: Organic Chemistry
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        • Oceans 11: Coastal Zones
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        • Chemistry and the Environment
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        • Experiential Science 20, Marine Systems: Ocean Ecology
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        • Science 30: Chemistry and the Environment
  • Ontario
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        • Science (Academic):Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems
        • Science (Applied): Biology: Sustainable Ecosystems and Human Activity
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        • Hydrocarbons and Energy
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        • Science (Workplace Preparation): Chemicals in Consumer Products
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        • Science 9: Decisions and Perspectives
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        • Applied Science 701A: Decisions and Perspectives
        • Science 421A: Decisions and Perspectives
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        • Chemistry 521A: Organic Chemistry
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        • Environmental Science & Technology: The Living World
        • Science and the Environment: The Living World
  • Yukon Territory
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    • Grade 11
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      • Chemistry
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry 11: Organic chemistry and its applications have significant implications for human health, society, and the environment
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science for Citizens 11:Scientific processes and knowledge inform our decisions and impact our daily lives

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    • Source Reduction
  • Water (1)

    • Marine Environments

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Much of the learning is based on the students' evaluation of their own practices and experience.  Any information provided is science based and all data is from reliable sources and is current.

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

Plastics in the environment provides an excellent example of the need to balance economic, environmental and social considerations.  The environmental and social (health) impacts of economies built on consumption is well demonstrated.

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

Many of the descriptions and activities in the lesson illustrate the size and complexity of the problem of plastics in our environment.  Attention is also given to how the implementation of technology to improve the economy or society or the environment will often result in both intended and unintended consequences.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Very Good

Personal and community action based on what has been learned is a core component of the lesson.  Students are encouraged and supported in  their efforts.

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

While the footprint exercise is based on personal reflection of lifestyle, there are no explicit requirements for students to express their feelings about what they learned.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered

The purpose of the lesson does not include this criterion.

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 students learn how the accumulation of plastics impacts ecosystems, with special attention given to marine environments.

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 are connected to the issue through an accounting and analysis of their own consumption habits.

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

Some sense of plastics production and consumption over time is provided. Attention to the 5R's and successful efforts to limit plastic pollution provides an optimistic outlook for the future.

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

The students investigate their own culpability in the problems created by plastic production and consumption. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

This issue connects the fields of biology and chemistry and the primer used in the lesson effectively demonstrates this integration.

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

While highly structured, the lesson is based on students answering the question, 'what is my plastic consumption footprint'.  The tools used and the procedure followed are determined by the resource.

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

Much of the learning about plastic pollution involves reading.  The practical nature of the footprint activity will however appeal to a variety of abilities and learning styles.

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

Both the footprint calculation and the action project provide for learning in a 'real world' context.

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 Poor/Not considered

The lesson has been designed for individual learning.  Group opportunities do exist within the action project assignment but are not priorities in this design.

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

Suggestions for formative assessment are 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 Poor/Not considered

Peer teaching opportunities can occur with the implementation of the action project but are not explicitly called for.

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 Good

A number of case studies are provided in the resource's 'primer'.

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 Satisfactory

Students do not have choice over content, but they do determine what action to take and how it will be implemented.

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.