Activity Introduction

blue_rubbish-plastic-digger-bucket_untitled_1-463-2-edit_photoframeQuick summary: This lesson incorporates clips from Blue The Film as learning inspiration. Students investigate what types of plastics are found in a typical lunchbox. They explore how long these plastic items take to breakdown if they are not reused or recycled. Students are then asked to compare and contrast single use plastics to reusable plastic items. Finally, students take part in an eco-cooking demonstration by creating a Great Pacific Garbage Patch Soup, reflecting on the impact that plastics have on our oceans. 

blue-white-logo-120pxBlue is a feature documentary film charting the drastic decline in the health of our oceans. With more than half of all marine life lost and the expansion of the industrialization of the seas, the film sets out the challenges we are facing and the opportunities for positive change. Blue changes the way we think about our liquid world and inspires the audience to action. Find out how to screen or download the film here. Along with the film is an ambitious global campaign to create advocacy and behaviour change through the #oceanguardian movement. To become an ocean guardian, see the website.

Learning intention:

  • Students recognise the different types of plastics that are found in lunchboxes and where they may end up if they are not reused or recycled.

21st century skills:


Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 3 Science

  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE051)

Year 4 Science

  • Science knowledge helps people to understand the effect of their actions (ACSHE062)
  • Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)

Syllabus outcomes: ST2-11LW, ST2-13MW.

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2, OI.9.

Relevant parts of Year 3 Science achievement standards: Students describe how they can use science investigations to respond to questions.

Relevant parts of Year 4 Science achievement standards: Students apply the observable properties of materials to explain how objects and materials can be used. They identify when science is used to understand the effect of their actions.

Topic: Blue The Film, Ocean Conservation, Water.

Unit of work: Blue The Film: Inquiry – Years 3 & 4.

Time required: 80 mins

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – lead activities and discussions.

Resources required: Student Worksheet – one copy per student. Device capable of presenting a website to the class. Cut out small squares of recycled/scrap paper. Pens/pencils. Great Pacific Garbage Patch Soup – Instructions. You will also need:

  • 10 – 12 different types of lunchbox items, including plastics wrappers (biscuit and chip packets), plastic cling wrap, straws, recyclable juice boxes, fruit (apple/banana) and a lunch box for the longest lunch demonstration. Put the objects into the lunchbox to represent a student lunchbox.
  • Equipment needed for the eco cooking session: large bowl, wooden spoons, water, two pairs of scissors, plastic items, ladle and small bowls.

Keywords: Blue The Film, ocean conservation, waste, plastic, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, degradation, recycling, reusing, Venn diagram.

Cool Australia and Northern Pictures would like to acknowledge the generous contributions of GoodPitch² AustraliaShark Island InstituteDocumentary Australia FoundationThe Caledonia Foundation and Screen Australia in the development of these teaching resources.

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

© 2017 Northern Pictures and Cool Australia


Teacher Worksheet

blue_plasticbaglookslikejellyfish_untitled_1-464-1_photoframeTeacher Preparation

Learning intention: Students learn about the different types of plastics that are found in lunchboxes and where they may end up if they are not reused or recycled.

Success criteria: Students will...

  • Know some of the different types of plastic found in a typical lunchbox.
  • Know some of the ways we can reuse plastic.
  • Know what the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is and where it came from.
  • Know how our everyday choices impact on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
  • Know how we can choose to use plastic in a more sustainable way.
  • Be able to contribute to class-wide discussions.
  • Be able to follow and participate in a class-wide demonstration.


Teacher content information: From space, our planet appears as a tiny blue dot in the vastness of space. No matter where you live on our blue planet – you’re connected to the sea.

But the seas are under threat. The industrialisation that has occurred in the oceans over the last century, mirrors the events that trigger

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Student Worksheet

Thought starter: How much plastic do you have in your house?

Plastic waste

Have a look at the following image:


(Image source:

This is a photo of a remote beach on an island in Hawaii, and even though hardly anyone visits the beach, the beach is covered in plastic. Some of the plastic you can see and identify, while other pieces are almost as small as pieces of sand. These are known as microplastics.

The next image is a close-up of some microplastics:


(Image source:

Microplastics are very small pieces of plastic. They are formed by larger pieces of plastic breaking down in our environment. However, some of the products that we use also have tiny pieces of plastic in them: some beauty products and toothpastes have microbeads in them (tiny pieces of plastic) that enter the environment when they get washed down the sink. In the ocean we find microplastics floating in the water and i

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