Activity Introduction

seal-the-loop-hero-6Quick summary: In this activity students conduct a simple experiment to determine the decomposition rates of three different types of waste that are commonly found in the ocean. Students will test the waste over several months in both fresh and salty water.

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 learn that waste has a huge impact on marine environments.
  • Students understand that disposing of waste appropriately can help marine biodiversity considerably.

Australian Curriculum content description:

Year 5 Science

  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve problems (ACSIS086)
  • Decide which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests and accurately observe, measure and record data, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS087)
  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS218)
  • Suggest improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (ACSIS091)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS093)

Year 6 Science

  • With guidance, plan appropriate investigation methods to answer questions or solve problems (ACSIS103)
  • Decide which variable should be changed and measured in fair tests and accurately observe, measure and record data, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS104)
  • Compare data with predictions and use as evidence in developing explanations (ACSIS221)
  • Suggest improvements to the methods used to investigate a question or solve a problem (ACSIS108)
  • Communicate ideas, explanations and processes in a variety of ways, including multi-modal texts (ACSIS110)

Syllabus Outcomes: ST3-4WS

Topic: Seal the Loop

Time required: 60 mins, this experiment will take several months and can be revisited at several points during this time.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – assist students with experiment.

Resources required: Each group will need the following items: 2 buckets of water, salt, 2 items of 3 different types of waste (see list in Teacher or Student worksheets), student worksheet.

Digital technology opportunities: Digital sharing capabilities.

Homework and extension opportunities: This activity has opportunities for homework or extension.

Safety: Students follow class waste safety code.

Keywords: Waste, marine, decomposition, breakdown.

 

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 goal: In this activity students learn that waste has a huge impact on marine environments and recognise that disposing of waste appropriately can help marine biodiversity considerably.

Teacher content information: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a vast floating mass of plastic debris that has accumulated in the Pacific Ocean. (If students are unfamiliar with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, begin this activity by asking students to read through the sections on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on the Student Toolbox.)

The sad truth of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is that about 80% of the material floating around in there comes from the land, and much of it is made up of plastic bags, bottles and various other plastic items that we humans use in our everyday lives.

Cool Australia Presents Waste from Cool Australia on Vimeo.

See what other schools are doing by exploring a case study here.

Hot tips: Discuss with students how they could

...
 
- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: Does most of the waste in marine environments come from industry or households?

What happens to marine waste? Your predictions:

1. Which type of waste do you think will break down the fastest? 

2. Which type of waste do you think will break down the slowest? 

3. Which type of water do you think will cause the fastest rate of decomposition? 

4. Which type of water do you think will cause the slowest rate of decomposition? 

Experiment instructions

1. Select your waste.

Select three types of waste from the 'Top 10 Marine Waste Items' list below and find two examples of each.

Top 10 Marine Waste Items

  1. Cigarette butts
  2. Plastic bags
  3. Food wrappers and containers
  4. Caps, lids
  5. Plastic drink bottles
  6. Cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons
  7. Glass drink bottles
  8. Soft drink cans
  9. Straws and stirrers
  10. Paper bags

2. Test your waste breakdown.

To test your waste breakdown, you will need two buckets 3/4 filled with water. One bucket will represent freshwater while the

...
 
- or - to view worksheets

Leave your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. Let us know what you like or don't like about this activity:

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.