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Eco-island: Scrapheap Barrens activity 1

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To conduct an investigation into the use of plastics in our society and create a giant mosaic of plastic materials.

Key Stage 1

Curriculum links: Sc3 1b-d. PSHE 2g, 5g.

Eco-island: Plastic mosaic

What to do: Think about how many things we use that are made of plastic and how much plastic we throw away every day. Ask the children to bring examples of plastic packaging into school – bottles, food trays, lids, carrier bags and so on. Bury some of these things in the school grounds and check on them periodically. Do they begin to biodegrade at all? After a week? A month? Would they biodegrade after a year or more? Ask the children to think about ways we could reduce the amount of plastic we throw away.

Make a big display of plastic materials to highlight the menace of plastic. Begin by giving every child a square (approx 10cm x 10cm) of strong recycled paper or coloured felt. Use all the primary colours and let the children choose which colour they want. Then ask the children to collect lots of small plastic items in the same colour to decorate their square – bits of packaging, bottle tops, buttons and so on. When every child has decorated their square, fit them all together in a giant mosaic to make a rainbow of plastic squares.

Completed this activity? Use our show and tell facility to upload your work and help the island inhabitants to improve this zone.

Key Stage 2

Curriculum links: Sc3 1a. PSHE 2a, d, j.

What to do: Think about how many things we use that are made of plastic and how much plastic we throw away every day. Ask the children to bring examples of plastic packaging into school – bottles, food trays, lids, carrier bags and so on. Discuss how much of this packaging is necessary. Do we need to buy vegetables in a plastic tray and wrapped in clear plastic, or can we just buy them loose?

Bury some plastic packaging in the school grounds and check on it periodically. Does it begin to biodegrade at all? After a week? A month? Would it biodegrade after a year or more? Find out how long it takes for plastic to biodegrade – if at all. Ask the children to investigate which companies/stores are starting to use plastic bags that can recycled or packaging that is biodegradable. Why aren’t all companies doing this?

Make a big display of plastic materials to highlight the menace of plastic. Begin by giving every child a square (approx 10cm x 10cm) of rug canvas (available from craft shops). Ask them to paint their canvas a primary colour. They then need to collect different plastic bags that can be cut into strips. A variety of shades of their chosen colour will look most effective. Tie the strips of plastic through the holes in the rug canvas until it is full. When every child has finished their square, fit them all together in a giant mosaic to make a rainbow of plastic squares.

Completed this activity? Use our show and tell facility to upload your work and help the island inhabitants to improve this zone.

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