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Out At Sea, Out Of Mind A Marine Litter Activity Pack


Contents Introduction Part One Identifying Marine Litter Lesson Ideas Seven Usual Suspects Identification Sheet Poster Task

Part Four Disposable Products Lesson Ideas Recognisable Rubbish Graphic Design Task Product Design Task

Part Two Risks To Sealife Lesson Ideas Litter Belly Bother Creative Task

Part Five Importance Of A Clean Beach Assembly Ideas At The Beach Weird Fish Scales Interactive Map

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Part Three Scientific Study Lesson Ideas Pellet Watch Envelope Task

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Further Links & Online Resources


Introduction Welcome to the Marine Litter Activity Pack. This is a collection of stand-alone, creative educational tasks, each with a suggested lesson plan for teachers. The tasks have been designed to help students relate to and engage with the global scale problem of marine litter, particularly plastic waste. The lesson plans are primarily aimed at KS3, but can be adapted depending on ability and to suit other stages of the curriculum if necessary. There are five parts to the pack, each concentrating on a different area of the marine litter topic that include: - Types of marine litter - Risks to marine wildlife - Scientific study of pollutants - Disposable plastic products - The importance of a clean beach There is an introduction to each part with a summary of facts that teachers can use in the lessons. Links are provided to reliable websites where further information about this topic can be found. The Marine Litter Activity Pack aims to inspire rather than intimidate. These tasks enable students to take practical action against the problems that marine litter poses, and realise that their everyday actions can make a difference.


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Part One Identifying Marine Litter

Marine litter is a global scale problem but what is it and where does it come from? There are seven sources of marine litter that include: Fishing, Sewage Related Debris (SRD), Fly-Tipped, Public, Shipping, Medical and Non-Sourced. The top 10 items most commonly found on UK beaches are plastic pieces, sweet & crisp wrappers, string & cord, caps & lids, polystyrene pieces, plastic drinks bottles, fishing net & pieces, cigarette stubs, glass pieces and fishing line. Sewage related debris has only recently dropped out of the top 10 but is still commonly found on beaches due to people flushing synthetic items down the toilet. Reports suggest that there are 2000 items of litter per kilometre of UK beaches surveyed and worldwide studies show that every single beach has some form of plastic on it. Levels of litter on our beaches are still rising, despite improved efforts to tackle the problem. The amounts found today are double what they were 20 years ago and with plastic being the main culprit, it is highly important that we solve this problem at the source as well as cleaning up what is already out there. Further Information: - Marine Conservation Society: http://www.mcsuk.org/downloads/pollution/beachwatch/2012/Beachwatch_sum mary_2012.pdf - Plastic Garbage Project: http://www.plasticgarbageproject.org/en/themen/probleme/ Video: - TED Talk (Capt. Charles Moore on the Seas of Plastic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_ embedded&v=M7K-nq0xkWY


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Part One Lesson Ideas

Learning Challenge One: “I can identify marine litter at the beach” Start discussion about marine litter: - Imagine you’re on the beach after a storm, what might you see? - Are these things bad? - What effect could the debris have in the beach environment? - Where do you think these things come from? - Mind map on whiteboard, or in groups on big pieces of paper then share with class. Field trip to beach: - Small groups, each have identification sheet. - Groups do beach clean and find items on list. - Take items back to classroom. Extension: What is the most common item we have found, make a graph to show this. Learning Challenge Two: “I can use drawings and design to make an awareness poster” Teacher has set up items from beach clean in classroom to start discussion: - Who, what, when, where and why for each object. Use example poster to set design task: choose one object and make a poster to explain: 1. What it is 2. Where it comes from 3. Why it is bad 4. How they could change it Poster presentations with suggestion for where to display it and why.


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Part Two Risks To Marine Wildlife

Whilst we are able to recognise items of marine litter on the beach and in the sea, to animals it is more than just an eyesore. Entanglement and ingestion are both common problems amongst marine wildlife. Seals, turtles, dolphins, whales, birds and fish are just a few creatures that mistake marine litter for food or as curious objects to play with. The results can be fatal, as statistics show that at least 267 species are affected worldwide. Due to the vast numbers and difficulty in tracking those affected by entanglement, figures can only be estimated. The numbers are, however, shocking. It is thought that around 130,000 cetaceans are caught in nets every year. Entanglement can result in drowning, reduced feeding ability and deep wounds. Ingestion occurs amongst sea creatures when they mistake pieces of plastic for food. Small fish are known to ingest micro-plastics, whilst larger animals like albatross eat larger pieces of plastic. Some have even been found with whole cigarette lighters in their stomachs. Plastic items lodged in throats and stomachs can cause malnutrition, give the animal a false sense of fullness or cause infection. Another problem is that the chemicals carried by plastics can be absorbed into the animal’s flesh, thereby entering the food chain. Extensive research is currently being carried out and Part Three looks at this topic in more detail. Further information: - http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/plastic_ocean_report/ (pages 13-17) Videos: - Midway Journey: http://www.midwayfilm.com/ - Hawaii, Message in the Waves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QCM3kHPhJA - Trash Vortex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XKXR2Goe_IA


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Part Two Lesson Ideas

Learning Challenge One: “I can use information from a documentary to inform my work� Opening: watch video and write down one thing to share with the class after. Show video from Message In The Waves or Trash Vortex. (10 mins) Discussion: - Go round class and see what they noticed from video. - Which other sea creatures do you think are in danger? Set task: individually or in pairs, choose a type of sea creature and describe it using the following questions as a guide. 1. What is it? 2. Is it a mammal, a fish or a crustacean? 3. Where does it live? In the sea, on the beach, in the dunes? 4. Is it a predator or prey? 5. What does it eat? 6. What type of marine litter is it most likely to mistake for food? 7. How has the sea creature changed in order to avoid this happening? Extension: If time, draw your sea creature or make up a short play about the animal in the wild. Conclusion: Each group presents their sea creature by reading out their description, showing their drawing or acting out the animal.


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Part Three Scientific Study of Pollutants

Plastic waste in the sea also carries with it invisible dangers. In 2001, it was revealed that plastic resin pellets are absorbing certain organic micropollutants during their time in the sea. Whilst on the plastic, these micropollutants concentrate rather than break down in the seawater. They are then absorbed into body tissues when ingested by animals. This is one way in which hazardous chemicals are entering marine food chains. Scientific experiments are still being carried out in Japan but they rely on volunteers around the world to send them samples of plastic resin pellets found at local beaches. Along with the pellets they need a map of the area in which the pellets were found, and they must be protected with tin foil to prevent any further contamination. A sample of 200 is the preferred amount and the laboratory will send the results back to the volunteers. Environmental organisations rely on this type of research to back up their reasons for carrying out beach cleans and awareness campaigns so it is really important that it continues. Without solid scientific research, we cannot justify the need for change. Further Information: - -

Pellet Watch: www.pelletwatch.org Detailed Pellet Watch Report: http://www.pelletwatch.org/documents/takadaproceeding.pdf


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Part Three Lesson Ideas

Learning Challenge One: “I can obtain scientific facts and present them as evidence” Opening Discussion: - How do we prove things are real? - Why do we need evidence? - Discuss idea of pollutants being carried by plastics in the sea and entering food chain Creative Task: Make Pellet Watch Envelope - Give each student a copy of envelope net, scissors, glue, tin foil - Make envelope with tin foil stuck to inside - Write information on envelope Field Trip To Beach - Each student to collect 10-20 yellowing plastic pellets (health & safety: don’t put in mouth, wear gloves) - Use sieves if available to help spot the pellets in the sand - Put pellets into envelopes as they go and return to classroom Closing Task - Working together (with access to computer) find a map of the area and mark where the class found the pellets - Put all envelopes, with map, into airmail envelope to send to Japan Extension (when results are sent back to school) - Make a graph to show the levels of different pollutants found at local beach - Which local businesses might need to know this information?


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Part Four Disposable Plastic Products

Disposable plastic products are just one type of marine litter but they are the one that we, as consumers, have the most control over. Plastic products will never fully disappear, as even when they have broken down, the chemicals they contain will forever remain in the environment. Approximately one third of plastic is produced for packaging purposes and for good reason. It is cheap, lightweight and extremely flexible in its properties. However, plastic packaging lasts for hundreds more years than the products it is intended to protect. Around 8 billion plastic carrier bags are used every year whilst plastic bottles can take between 450 and 1000 years to decompose. The 4 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) are a good way to make us consider our use of these products. Refusing to buy all plastic items would obviously reduce the amount entering our waste stream, but is also unrealistic. By following the 4 R’s in the order above, we can try to reduce the overall amount of plastic waste we produce. A product is considered to be ‘sustainable’ if it has minimal impact on the environment at each stage of its life cycle. The product life cycle includes the development of a product, introduction to the market, its shelf life, its usable life and what happens to it at the end of its usable life. Good design is crucial in creating sustainable products and it is the designer’s responsibility to think about what will happen to the product at the end of its usable life. Built in obsolescence has become the norm in the world of product design as a business tactic, which means people are replacing products on a far more regular basis than ever before. Further Information: - -

TED Talk (Are mushrooms the new plastic?): http://www.ted.com/talks/eben_bayer_are_mushrooms_the_new_ plastic.html Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things, a book by William McDonough


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Part Four Lesson Ideas

Learning Challenge One: “I can see that, using thoughtful design, not everything has to be made with plastic” Opening Activity Option 1: - Teacher presents a range of plastic products, some disposable, some that can be re-used a few times and some that should last forever: plastic carrier bags, a toothbrush, a plastic water bottle, a durable plastic bowl, a bucket etc. - Set up 3 bases (one use, more than one, forever) around the classroom, hold up each object and get the class to stand where they think is right. - Challenge questions: How long does a plastic bag take to break down? Why, even when you can’t see it anymore, could it still be bad for the environment? Opening Activity Option 2: - Write a list of the plastic objects you have used so far today. Start class discussion: - How many of these will you use again? - How many did you throw away? - Do you know if anything you threw away could be recycled? - How many of the objects did you really need to use? - Can you think of any ways you could have avoided using some of the plastic objects? Set task: Choose one object from selection brought in by teacher/your list and redesign it in a way that makes it clear how to recycle it, or reduces the need for plastic altogether. Conclude by presenting ideas for products. Extension: continue working on designs for homework and do Dragon’s Den style presentations in next lesson.


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Part Five The Importance of a Clean Beach

Beach cleaning is a way of helping people to visualise the problem of marine litter. Research tells us that 6.4 million tons of waste ends up in the sea every year, 75% of which is made from plastic. Of this amount, 15% is washed up onto our beaches. That’s 960,000 tons. Marine litter can have a serious impact on the levels of tourism at beaches around the country, which then affects local businesses. It is important to keep beaches litter free but to avoid damaging the ecosystems that exist in the seaweed and sand, clean ups are best done carefully by hand. Beach cleans are not going to solve the problem of marine litter but do help by protecting local wildlife, improving tourism and, most importantly, raising awareness amongst the public. They may go on to inspire others to change habits and put pressure on governments to make bigger changes closer to the source of the problem. Further Information: -

Trashed film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UM73CEvwMY


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Part Five Assembly Ideas

Assembly One: - Who has been to the beach recently? - What did you see there? - Was there anything that shouldn’t have been at the beach? - What problems do you think the rubbish could cause? - Use projector to show ‘Trashed’ film trailer. Beach - - -

Clean Activity: Divide into year groups and give each group a selection of collection bags. You will need three teams: Red bags for plastic bottles, black for mixed plastic, green for fishing line. Do the beach clean and then weigh the different types of rubbish, getting a helper to write down the amounts.

Assembly Two: - Projector to show website to school. - Get students to shout out how much they think each type of waste they collected weighs. - Enter the amounts into the website when they get it right. - Press enter and watch the Weird Fish animations. - When all amounts are entered, visit map section and see how your results compare to other schools. - Ask for ideas about how to keep the beach clean in future.


d r i e W F

ish

Virtual Weighing Scales

fishing line

50kg

d WeirFish enter weight of waste

mixed plastics

………………

enter

WeirFdis

h see Weird Fish fill up & watch weight sink mixed plastics

75kg


Weird Fish Interactive Map

Visit the website where you can explore the coastline of the UK and find out what other schools are finding on their local beaches. You can also upload examples of work that you have completed as part of this project. Teachers and students can share ideas and get inspiration from each other for ways to further these projects and raise awareness in their local communities.

School Profile Local Beach? Penarth Pier No. of Students:

68

Collected (kg): Fishing line Plastic bottles Mixed plastic

22 31 45

Weird Fish Level:

DIRTY

er to v o l rol r othe e e s ols’ o h c s iles prof


Further Links & Online Resources Websites: - Surfers Against Sewage: www.sas.org.uk - Marine Conservation Society: www.mcsuk.org - Greenpeace Plastic Oceans Report: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/plastic_ ocean_report/ - Plastic Garbage Project: http://www.plasticgarbageproject.org/en/ - Raw Foundation: http://www.rawfoundation.org/ - Pellet Watch: www.pelletwatch.org Videos: - Trashed film trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UM73CEvwMY - TED Talk (Are mushrooms the new plastic?): http://www.ted.com/talks/eben_bayer_are_mushrooms_the_new_ plastic.html - Midway Journey: http://www.midwayfilm.com/ - Hawaii, Message in the Waves: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QCM3kHPhJA - Trash Vortex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XKXR2Goe_IA Books: - Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things, a book by William McDonough - Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change, a book by Victor Papanek


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Out At Sea, Out Of Mind  

Out At Sea, Out Of Mind is a project that aims to educate and inspire change through engaging young people with creative, practical activiti...

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