Does plastic biodegrade investigation - KS3 Chemistry

In this chemistry Key Stage 3 (KS3) lesson, students investigate rates of decay. The lesson is focused on students designing their own investigation to see if plant-based alternatives to plastic will decay faster than oil-based plastic and thus cause less harm to the environment.

Included are teacher resources allowing students to test how a conventional plastic bag decays compares to a compostable bag (using a potato as a substitute).

This investigation replicates the research conducted by Dr Imogen Napper at the University of Plymouth.

This is a single lesson from the Ocean Plastics Science unit. Ocean Plastics Science is a Key Stage 3 (KS3) resource combining both biology and chemistry. Students are taken on the journey of plastic. Exploring how plastics are manufactured, used, and disposed into the ocean. Students will learn the science behind what makes plastics both brilliant for everyday purposes and devastating to our oceans and marine life.

Get the whole unit via the Encounter Edu TES Shop.


Save for later
  • Slideshow-3-what_happens_to_plastics_when_you_throw_it_away-OP1114Sci.pptx
  • Student-Sheet-3a-How_long_will_it_take_to_degrade-OP1114Sci.pdf
  • Student-Sheet-3b-Biodegradable_plastic_bags_academic_study-OP1114Sci.pdf
  • Student-Sheet-3c-Design_a_biodegrade_test-OP1114Sci.pdf
  • Student-Sheet-3d-Dr_Imogen_Nappers_study-OP1114Sci.pdf
  • Activity-Overview-3a-Design_a_biodegrade_test-OP1114Sci.pdf
  • Teacher-Guidance-3-OP1114Sci.pdf
  • Image_credits-OP1114Sci.pdf

About this resource


Created: Aug 29, 2019

Updated: Sep 20, 2019


pptx, 4 MB



pdf, 27 KB



pdf, 200 KB


Report a problem

Creative Commons "Sharealike"

Creative Commons "Sharealike"