Activity Introduction

Quick summary: In this lesson, students investigate the environmental impacts of bottled water. They conduct a ‘5 whys’ investigation into some of the reasons why people use bottled water, then watch a video that explores what happens to plastic bottles once they’ve been thrown away. Students then explore the concept of life cycle analysis through researching, and work in groups to create a 3D model of a bottled water life cycle. Their aim is to encourage others to work towards closing the recycling loop by purchasing beverage bottles made from recycled plastic.

 

This lesson has been developed in partnership with Visy. For over 60 years Visy has been striving for sustainability, reducing the amount of waste going to landfill by collecting recyclable materials and recycling them into new paper and packaging products. Click here to find out more about Visy and their innovative work in recovering and transforming recyclable materials into new products to preserve our earth’s precious resources.

 

 

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the concept of closing the recycling loop.
  • Students will be able to communicate the value of closing the recycling loop to others. 
  • Students will be able to create a representation of the life cycle of a plastic bottle.

21st century skills: 

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Year 7 Science

  • Some of Earth’s resources are renewable, including water that cycles through the environment, but others are non-renewable (ACSSU116).
  • People use science understanding and skills in their occupations and these have influenced the development of practices in areas of human activity (ACSHE121).
  • Construct and use a range of representations, including graphs, keys and models to represent and analyse patterns or relationships in data using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS129).

Year 8 Science

  • Chemical change involves substances reacting to form new substances (ACSSU225).
  • Scientific knowledge has changed peoples’ understanding of the world and is refined as new evidence becomes available (ACSHE134).
  • Solutions to contemporary issues that are found using science and technology, may impact on other areas of society and may involve ethical considerations (ACSHE135).

Syllabus outcomes: SC4-12ES, SC4-13ES, SC4-7WS, SC4-16CW, ACSHE134, SC4-11PW.

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding.

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability.

Relevant parts of Year 7 Science achievement standards: Students analyse how the sustainable use of resources depends on the way they are formed and cycle through Earth systems. Students describe situations where scientific knowledge from different science disciplines and diverse cultures has been used to solve a real-world problem. They communicate their ideas, methods and findings using scientific language and appropriate representations.

Relevant parts of Year 8 Science achievement standards: By the end of Year 8, students compare physical and chemical changes and use the particle model to explain and predict the properties and behaviours of substances. They explain how evidence has led to an improved understanding of a scientific idea and describe situations in which scientists collaborated to generate solutions to contemporary problems. They reflect on implications of these solutions for different groups in society.

Topic: Waste, Sustainability.

Unit of work: Bright Sparks – Secondary Science.

Time required: 120 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – teacher will facilitate an innovative design process.

Resources required: 

  • Student Worksheet (one copy per student).
  • Device capable of presenting a website to the class.
  • Materials for making a 3D model (suggest using materials commonly found in a recycling bin).
  • ‘There is a Better Way’ article (one per pair).

Keywords: Bottled water, environmental impact, recycled plastic, waste.

The information and statistics included in this document are approximate and have been simplified for educational/illustrative purposes. They should not be relied upon for any other purpose.

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

Worksheets

Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students will understand the concept of closing the recycling loop.
  • Students will be able to communicate the value of closing the recycling loop to others. 
  • Students will be able to create a representation of the life cycle of a plastic bottle.

Success criteria: 

  • Students create a model to represent and compare the life cycles of plastic bottles made from non-recycled materials with bottles made from recycled materials.
  • Students can share the the value of closing the recycling loop with their peers.

Teacher content information: Almost everything we do in our daily lives creates waste. We can describe waste as something we no longer want or need. The food and drinks we consume, the clothes and cosmetics we wear, the transport we take, the stuff we buy, the energy we use in our homes and workplaces – all these things have waste as a part of their production.

Many of the things we use come to us wrapped in some kind of packa

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Student Worksheet

Thought Starter: What really happens to the plastic you throw away?

1. Watch the following video (or your teacher will screen it for the class)

What really happens to the plastic you throw away – Emma Bryce (https://youtu.be/_6xlNyWPpB8)

Once you have finished watching the video, reflect on your reactions:

What did you find out?

What was surprising?

What questions do you still have?

2. Read the 'There is a Better Way' article, then reflect on your response by responding to the same three prompts:

What did you find out?

What was surprising?

What questions do you still have?

3. There are many stages in the life cycle of plastic bottles where resources are used and waste is created. In this task, you will work in groups to investigate the resources required to produce plastic bottles, how this process impacts our environment, and why closing the recycling loop is so important. You will then use this information to clearly illustrate to others the value of closing

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