Activity Introduction

seal-hero4Quick summary: Students examine the cause and size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They will compare the scale of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to places they are familiar with. They are then asked to create an infographic sharing the information they have found.

Following this lesson plan is an ideal way for your school to take part in Zoos Victoria’s Seal the Loop program. You’ll be joining other amazing teachers in making a difference and creating positive environmental change.

 

Learning goals:

  • Students build an understanding of their personal impact on the planet by looking at how rubbish enters the marine environment.
  • Students make comparisons between areas they know well and the estimated area of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 5 Science:

  • Scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE217)
  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve problems (ACSIS086)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 5 Mathematics:

  • Use a grid reference system to describe locations. Describe routes using landmarks and directional language (ACMMG113)

Year 6 Science:

  • Scientific knowledge is used to inform personal and community decisions (ACSHE220)
  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve problems (ACSIS103)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Year 6 Mathematics:

  • Solve problems involving the comparison of lengths and areas using appropriate units (ACMMG137)

Syllabus OutcomesST3-6PW, ST3-4WSMA3-10MG, MA3-17MG, MA3-9MG, MA3‑1WM, MA3‑2WM, MA3‑3WM

Topic: Seal the Loop

Time required: 2 x 60 min lessons

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – oversee activity and facilitate discussion.

Resources required: Printed copy of Great Pacific Garbage Patch worksheet for each student (you may need extra maps of Australia if you live in a small state or territory), Internet access, access to student worksheets.

Digital technology opportunities: Infographic creation (DIY infographic background information), digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: Includes opportunities for extension.

Keywords: Rubbish, waste, waste management, landfill, recycling, climate change, greenhouse gases, Pacific Ocean, Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

seal-the-loop-hero-5Teacher preparation:

Overarching learning goals: Students build an understanding of their personal impact on the planet by looking at how rubbish enters the marine environment. They make comparisons between areas they know well and the estimated area of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

Teacher content information:

What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It is a gyre (a large system of rotating ocean currents) of marine debris particles in the central North Pacific Ocean. It is thought that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch was formed by oceanic currents and wind movement.

How big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? The real answer is: no one really knows. It’s much harder to measure how big something is in water compared to when it is on land. The Pacific Ocean itself is estimated to be between 155,557,000 and 165,250,000 square kilometres! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be between 700,000 and 15,000,000 square kilometres.

Read more about the Great Pacific Garbage P

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Who is responsible for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Tune in: Begin by watching this video on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Note: 1 pound = 0.45 kg.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch from Ben Segall on Vimeo.

How big is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? The real answer is: no one really knows. It’s much harder to measure how big something is in water compared to when it is on land. The Pacific Ocean itself is estimated to be between 155,557,000 and 165,250,000 square kilometres! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is thought to be between 700,000 and 15,000,000 square kilometres. These numbers are so big that it’s hard for us to picture an area of that size.

Estimates also say that the Patch is no smaller than the state of New South Wales. Other researchers believe it to be more extensive, possibly even larger than the Australian continent. Using our Map of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and a conservative estimate of the Patch's size (1,000,000 square kilometres

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