Teacher & Student Materials

Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution has become a critical environmental issue since the 1950s. This unit aims to educate middle school students about this urgent environmental problem causing harm to ecosystems and threatening human health and safety. The unit consists of four lesson sets, each driven by a different question:

  1. What are Garbage Patches and why should I care?
  2. Why do we use so much plastic?
  3. How does plastic affect the environment?
  4. What solutions are there?

In the unit students explore plastic production, the chemical and physical properties of plastics, their widespread use in daily life, the impacts of plastic pollution on ecosystems and human health. The final lessons focus on ways of managing plastic waste, their benefits, and costs. Students debate these management methods and learn how individuals can promote sustainability and environmental stewardship, as well as critical thinking and problem-solving skills.