RAISE AWARENESS OF THE DAMAGE PLASTICS DO TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Listed below are books and short video clips that can be used as teaching resources to help students understand the problem that plastics can cause for the environment.
- Duffy’s Lucky Escape and Marli’s Tangled Tale (Ellie Jackson, Liz Oldmeadow) – Story books suitable for 4-10 year olds. Duffy’s Lucky Escape has an associated website giving background to the story. The story introduces ideas such as why we need to recycle, why the school is choosing to go plastic-free at lunchtime, being global citizens and organising local beach cleans.
- All the Way to the Ocean (Joel Harper) – Available as a book or animated video and aimed at infant age. James throws a plastic bottle in the gutter and doesn’t believe that it will go all the way to the ocean. His friend Isaac warns James about the consequences of his littering. There begins the adventures of James and Isaac as they learn about the harmful effects of storm drain pollution, and in turn, spread the word to their friends and the rest of their school. Helping the kids along this journey are a Crane, a Surfer and James’ Mum.
- Two minutes on marine litter (animated video suitable for junior age children).
- Solving Plastic Pollution (suitable for junior / senior age children, 4 minutes long).
- Plastic Oceans (suitable for senior school children, 10 minutes long).
Follow up actions could be:
- Set up a ‘Plastic Free’ School Club or make reducing plastic use a theme for your schools Environment Group.
- Set Up a ‘Plastic Free’ Pledge Board where pupils post pledges on how they are going to reduce their use of plastics. Ideas for pledges are have a waste free pack lunch, say “No” to a straw, remind their parents to take a bag to the shop and use a reusable drinks bottle.
- If there are areas within the school grounds where litter can infiltrate have a cleanup of the school grounds (NHDC have litter picking equipment they can loan).
SCHOOL ‘PLASTIC FREE’ CAMPAIGN IDEAS
THE LAST STRAW
Resources for introducing the problem of plastic straws to children:
- The trailer for the film Straws talks about the history of straws and then goes on to explain the problem with plastic straws and the alternatives to plastic straws.
- A Ted talk by a 9 year old girl explaining how and why we should say “No” to straws and the action schools can take.
- World Ocean Day video showing how straws affect the food chain and litter our beaches.
- The last plastic straw project website.
Can you identify how to remove plastic straws from your school? For example, does your school milk come with a straw and does it have to? Ask the children if they will say ‘No’ to plastic straws.
REFILLABLE BOTTLES AND CUPS
Encouraging students to bring refillable bottles instead of single use plastic bottles in packed lunches and on trips. A video suitable for older junior / senior school children is The Story of Bottled Water.
PLASTIC FREE LUNCH WEEK
Plan and implement ‘plastic free’ lunch box days – lunch boxes without single-use disposable plastic. The children could make their own plays or even videos to give ideas on how to have a plastic-free lunch box. This video for Australia’s Plastic Free July week could be shown to get the children thinking.
PLASTIC FREE ALTERNATIVES TO COMMON OBJECTS
Explore with the children what different products are made from and see if you can identify alternatives for those which are plastic.
- The Story of Microfibres will raise awareness of plastics in our clothing.
- This video gives a personal story about Living Plastic Free.
- Make some products that are a plastic free alternative to everyday products, e.g. a soap bar, beeswax food wraps or reusable snack bag.
Students identify items which are made from plastic in the school bins and then think how to reduce the amount of plastic thrown away by identifying if you could refuse, reuse or find alternatives to single use plastics. Examples of items identified by schools to target so far include:
- Replace disposable cups with reusable washable beakers
- Encourage PTAs not to sell single use glow bands and sticks at their events.
- Replace school milk in a carton with a straw with an alternative with less plastic.
TEACHING RESOURCES LINKS
Marine Conservation Society Discover Centre
Waste Wise Schools Plastic Free July Activity Guide (Plastic Free July takes place in Australia)