Plastic recycling – KS2 science and geography lesson plan

What's included?

PDF lesson plan and interactive workbook

Key Stage



Years 3-6


In this plastic recycling lesson, send students on a plastics hunt in the classroom. Sort the items you find to make the link between the littering alien in the included interactive workbook and the plastics we find in everyday use.

This lesson, perfect for World Environment Day, takes pupils on a recycling journey – encouraging them to make their own choices and lead the direction the story takes.

This helps them to learn new facts about plastic pollution and reinforces the view that caring for the environment is an important part of life.

Plastic recycling lesson objectives

  • Understand how our actions can impact on the environment
  • Understand how plastics get into the ocean
  • Learn plastic is valuable and how we can reuse it if we recycle it
  • Discover how we recycle plastics into new products

Starter activity

Hold up a plastic bottle and ask pupils to discuss with a partner how long they think it will take to break down.

Are they surprised to learn that it could take hundreds of years? What impact might this have on the animals and plants that live in the oceans? And how might this affect us?

Go on a plastic hunt around the school or classroom. Collect as many plastic items as possible – water bottles, glue sticks, plastic bags, washing-up bowls and pens. You’ll use these items later in the lesson when the children sort their own recycling.

Kirsty Beasley is a Year 6 teacher at Cam Everlands Primary School, Gloucestershire.

Plastic recycling lesson plan
Plastic recycling – KS2 science and geography lesson plan

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