006 - Sea of Plastic

Factual Question

How does plastic get into the oceans?

What impact does plastic in our oceans have on its environment?

Key Terminology

There are no new terms that will be used throughout this lesson.

Activity One - Describe

Before we even look at the hows and whys of the increasing amount of plastic in our oceans it would be good to explore exactly what plastic is and what goes into making it. This will help to set the scene of why it is often in the news as an issue.


      1. What is plastic?
      2. What components of plastic make them particularly detrimental for the ecology in our oceans?
      3. Describe how plastic enters the world's oceans.

Activity Two - Investigate

We all seem to have this idea that there is more plastic in our oceans than ever before. That the plastic causes massive issues for whoever uses the oceans inlcuding humans. What evidence can we find to suggest that this is the actual case?


      1. Spend 5 minutes searching on the internet for newspaper or magazine article titles that highlight the growing issue of plastic in our oceans. I would expect you to find many articles but
                    • On paper write the title of the newspaper or magazine.
                    • Record the heading of the article.
                    • Record a summary of what the article says about the plastic in the ocean.

Activity Three - Describe

As always it goes to look at whether there is an actual problem surrounding plastic in our oceans rather than perhaps our perceptions.


      1. Using the 'Global Plastics Production graph below, describe the changes in production over time.
      2. Using image three, describe where the plastic can be found. Also consider type.

Activity Four - Inform

You now have an knowledge of the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans, where we find the majority of it and how it gets there in the first place. What we now need to do is to consider the impact of this waste and what we can actually do about the situation. To do this we are going to use two key resources; the first is National Geographic so that you can visually see the impact of plastic and to understand that we change how we view plastic the use of plastic. The second resource is taken from a series of 'Earth Day' materials which will provide key facts surrounding the issue along with sensible and realistic solutions (the plastic pollution tool kit).


      1. Watch the YouTube clip below and answer the following questions on lined paper.
            • What is the circular economy/new plastic economy?
            • Where does the waste come from?
            • What is the impact of this waste?
            • What is a dead zone?
            • How many dead zones are there?
            • How can farmers change their processes?
      2. Create a informative poster which outlines the problems of plastic pollution along with suggestions for improvement. We need to move away from just looking at this issue in a bleak way to an opportunity to revolutionize a resource.
            • Facts and figures
            • Images - drawn or printed
            • Hand written piece of work
            • A3 in size
            • Lots of colour so that it will be eye-catching