In the Ditch the Plastic Project, students study the environmental consequences of single-use plastics and design empathy-led solutions to reduce their fellow students’ dependence on plastic. In the first year that I did this project, students “upcycled” waste materials into items that ranged from teddy bears to skateboards. This year, the plan was for students to run a campaign in their school and local community to educate others on the effects of plastic pollution, and help others commit to making long term single-use plastic use changes – and then reflect on the campaign’s successes and failures and share their findings with local activists. Unfortunately, the school was closed due to Covid-19 before the “second year” version took place.
With that in mind, this “toolkit” includes both material from the first year of this project, and the changes I made to it for the second iteration.
Key Academic skills & Content: Students gain scientific investigation skills including how to gather and interpret data, explain and create models for scientific phenomena and design, evaluate and refine a solution for reducing the amount of plastic waste generated.
Students will be able to:
- Conduct an investigation into the types and quantities of plastic waste in the community
- Investigate the effects of plastics and microplastics on the natural environment
- Observe and describe the physical and chemical changes to the Earth and biological species caused by plastic materials
- School-wide Campaign
- Campaign Results Presentation to Local Community Members
- Large Display made out of recycled plastic to hang in local university
Suggested duration: 6 weeks
This project was created with the generous support of the Avalon Foundation.