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Eco-island: Sludge River activity 2

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Investigate chemicals in household cleaning products and design some new eco-friendly versions.

Key Stage 1

Curriculum links: Geography 5a-b. Art 1a-b, 2c, 3a-b.

What to do: Ask the children to collect and bring to school a variety of empty packaging for household cleaning products such as washing-up liquid, fabric softener, soap and so on. Compare the labels of these products and ask the children to look for products that contain harmful chemicals such as phosphates. Explain that phosphates cause damage to the environment, contaminating drinking water and polluting our rivers. Find products that are advertised as eco-friendly and check that they are phosphate free. Do the children think that it is easy to tell which products cause river pollution and which ones don’t?

Ask the children to design their own brand of cleaning product – they can choose anything from a washing powder to an oven cleaner. Their task is to name their brand and create artwork that shouts the messages Eco-Friendly and Phosphate Free! Discuss what images could be included on the packaging to send out positive messages to consumers. Don’t forget to think about what the packaging will be made from. It should be made from recycled cardboard or plastic and be clearly labelled as such. Show the children what a ‘recycle’ logo looks like (three arrows) so that they can include this on their packaging.

Key Stage 2

Curriculum links:Geography 4a-b, 5a-b. Art 1a-c, 2c, 3a-b.

What to do: Ask the children to collect and bring to school a variety of empty packaging for household cleaning products such as washing-up liquid, fabric softener, soap etc. Compare the labels of these products and ask the children to look for products that contain harmful chemicals such as phosphates. Explain that phosphates cause damage to the environment, contaminating drinking water and polluting our rivers. Discuss how this can happen and the effect it can have on the wildlife. Also discuss the potential effect of these chemicals on humans. If the chemicals end up in our water and our food chain, we will end up eating and drinking them. Find products that are advertised as eco-friendly and check that they are phosphate free. Do the children think that it is easy to tell which products cause river pollution and which ones don’t?

Ask the children to design their own brand of cleaning product – they can choose anything from a washing powder to an oven cleaner. Their task is to name their brand and create artwork that shouts the messages Eco-Friendly and Phosphate Free! Discuss what images they can include on their packaging that will send out positive messages to consumers.

Don’t forget to think about what the packaging is made from. It should be made from recycled cardboard or plastic and this should be clearly labelled too. Show the children what a ‘recycle’ logo (three arrows) looks like so that they can include this on their packaging. They may want to cut out the recycle logos from some of the packaging examples that were brought in.

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