Single-use plastics: teaching resources

Resources team
14th November 2019
plastic pollution, single-use plastic

'Single-use' - Collins Dictionary Word of the Year 2018

Collins Dictionary has chosen 'single-use' as its word of the year for 2018, highlighting growing concerns about the over-use of plastic and its impact on the environment. We have collected here some of our top resources on the topic to support you in discussing and exploring this important issue with your pupils.

Whole school assembly packs

Use these primary and secondary assembly packs to get your whole school onboard with the message of reduce, reuse, recycle!

WWF Oceans and Plastics - KS3 Assembly Presentation

This KS3 assembly presentation looks at the importance of oceans in our lives and explores the topic of plastics pollution and the things we can all do to give our oceans a better future.

The notes at the bottom of the slides will give you a script, plus additional information in italics to help deliver the assembly.

Teachers can access WWF’s full range of FREE classroom resources and tools for their green teams by visiting


Assembly: Single Use Plastics

This assembly looks at the issue of single use plastic.

Children are asked initially to use words to describe an idyllic scene, which they later find out is cropped, and the image reveals a litter-strewn beach.

The slides talk through the origins of plastic and explore some of the benefits of plastic, so children can understand how we have arrived at this situation.

The assembly goes on to look at the drawbacks -in simple terms, not too hard-hitting or upsetting.

The final part of this assembly encourages children to think about what they can do to address the situation. There are slides encouraging recycling, not using in the first place, and participation in litter picks.

The assembly ends with a prayer, but a good alternative would also be a silent promise - one thing the children will do in the next week to help the situation.

There are also external links to two clips that could be used in the assembly - one a classroom clip about different types of plastic and another You Tube clip that’s quite a nice opportunity to ask children what unsustainable choices the man is making, and what the drawbacks for him of each of his choices are.

I hope you enjoy using this resource. It is such an important issue and I’m very pleased it is becoming increasingly topical.

I would be grateful if you would leave a review, once you have used the assembly.

By Nataliebu

Primary resources

These resources are suitable for KS1 and KS2 pupils and include an activity pack on the effect of plastic pollution on the oceans, a Design and Technology lesson in which pupils repurpose common plastic waste and a plastics diary, so that pupils can track their own use of disposable plastics throughout the week.

WWF Oceans and Plastics - KS2 Activity set

This resource contains a range of activities aimed at teachers of 7-11 year-olds.

It is intended that this resource will be used in cross-curricular work and all activities can be linked to the National Curricula of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Teachers will find that the material can be adapted for use with different ages and abilities.

The six activities engage pupils in active learning methods, encouraging them to work together to solve problems, to think creatively, and to see themselves as active participants in their communities and the wider world.


It is hoped that, as they build their knowledge and understanding, they will become aware of a ‘bigger picture’ and see how seemingly small actions, such as using a plastic drinking straw, can have far reaching consequences. With a growing awareness of the part that they can play in creating a better future for our oceans, pupils will take a step on the journey to becoming global citizens and sustainability champions of the future.

Teachers can access WWF’s full range of FREE classroom resources and tools for their green teams at


Plastic recycling KS2 D&T

Encounter Edu links curriculum aligned education with global burning issues to inspire STEM careers and encourage environmental stewardship. Learn more about what we do at or by visiting our TES Shop, filled with quality, free of charge resources.

Plastic pollution is one of the major issues affecting the ocean. Students will begin by learning about the impact of litter on marine life. They will then explore the 3 Rs (reduce, recycle, reuse) and how they can be applied to the issue of marine plastic pollution. Students will then be guided to reuse common plastic waste to make a new useful object such as a bird-feeder or snack box.

This full lesson contains:

Slideshow 9: The Pacific Ocean and plastic pollution with Jo Royle
Lesson Overview and Teacher Guidance
Activity Overview: Reusing plastic bottles
Student Sheet 9a: Reusing plastic bottles preparation
Student Sheet 9b: Reusing plastic bottles guidance
Student Sheet 9c: Reusing plastic bottles review

It forms Lesson 9 of 12 from the Our Ocean Planet resource, which is designed to support Key Stage 2 teachers to teach all aspects of the ocean. It can be used as a full topic with over 20 hours of classroom activities or using a pick and mix approach. All lessons and resources are available from Encounter Edu’s TES profile.

By Encounter Edu

Let's Investigate Plastic Pollution: packaging and single-use plastics

Use these cross-curricular worksheets to support the teaching of Science, Maths and Art and Design in KS1. They complement our book ‘Let’s Investigate Plastic Pollution’ from our FUNdamental Science series. Since the airing of Blue Planet 2, awareness of plastics and the importance of recycling has been on everyones lips - keep the discussion going with these free resources. For more information, downloads and to purchase our books, please visit

These resources help meet the following National Curriculum targets across Science, Maths and Art and Design:

KS1 Science:
Working scientifically
Statutory requirements
Asking simple questions and recognising that they can be answered in different ways.
Observing closely, using simple equipment.
Identifying and classifying.
Using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions
Gathering and recording data to help in answering questions.
Notes and guidance (non-statutory):
Pupils in years 1 and 2 should explore the world around them and raise their own questions.

Science - Year 1:
Everyday materials
Statutory requirements:
Distinguish between an object and the material from which it is made.
Identify and name a variety of everyday materials, including wood, plastic, glass, metal, water, and rock.
Describe the simple physical properties of a variety of everyday materials.
Compare and group together a variety of everyday materials on the basis of their simple physical properties.

Science - Year 2:
Uses of everyday materials
Statutory requirements:
Identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses.

Maths - Year 2:
Statutory requirements:
To construct and interpret simple tally charts.
Notes and guidance (non-statutory):
To record, interpret collate, organise and compare information.

Art and Design:
Produce creative work, exploring their ideas and recording their experiences.
To use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.

By RubyTuesdayBooks

Plastic Diary

Students can track their weekly plastic usage using this worksheet.

Can be used for all ages.

Use as part of a series of lessons about plastic, the environment and how we can reduce our usage.
By ybez

Secondary resources

Students will be really engaged by these activities, including fully resourced lessons, persuasive writing and poster making tasks and a reading comprehension explaining how plastic is not always fantastic.

Plastic debate - Persuasive writing and Science investigation

Cross curricular activity involving English persuasive writing, comprehension, scientific investigation and data analysis skills. Students will debate the use of plastic packaging. Both sides of the argument are presented and the teacher can decide if they choose. Ideal for cross curricular (also citizenship and fund raising) or even a one off cover lesson. Requires printing of colour data sheets (3 A4 per group). Supporting PowerPoint with prompts. Lesson plan. All proceeds will go towards The War on Plastic fund:

By TommyC82

Plastic Pollution

1 hour, fully resourced PSHCE or Geography lesson which focuses on the problems presented by our excessive use and disposal of plastic and possible solutions. The lesson is most suitable for KS3 / KS4 (but has been left editable) and is filled with engaging, well differentiated and fun activities. It is also useful for Tutor Time, Global Citizenship or an Environment Drop Down Day.
The pack includes a 1 hour long PowerPoint, differentiated challenge activities, worksheets, clips and literacy focus tasks. These resources have been designed to be engaging, detailed and easy to follow.

You can find many more inexpensive and free resources at my shop: MORE EC RESOURCES

By EC Resources

OCEAN PLASTIC- 3 whole lessons with IT based pairs activity- fully scaffolded & engaging!

This resource could be used as part of an Environmental Issues SoW. The aims are to reduce the amount of plastic used in your school through the class creating persuasive adverts encouraging their peers to buy reusable bottles. Each lesson uses a variety of learning techniques based on enquiry and all video links are in the notes section of each slide.

I will then display the students work around the school and see if it has any impact!

Water consumption is incredibly important for concentration and should be encouraged within the school environment.

These lessons could also be used to create cross curricular links in DT and Art and potentially provide the design for school merchandise!

Please review if you download!

Enjoy :)

By Jemma S

Plastic is not fantastic

Plastic pollution was highlighted recently in ‘The Blue Planet’. This is a reading passage with questions, a vocabulary study, prompts for discussion and they have to rearange the sentences to get advice on what you can do to help. Key included.

By andorian

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