Below are links to Science Learning Hub resources for primary teachers related to recycling and biodegradability in the Material World strand of the New Zealand Curriculum.
Recycling and biodegradability are favourite topics from the Material World strand of the curriculum for primary teachers. Here are some helpful resources from the Hub.
- The issue of waste
- Modern landfill systems
- Biodegradability, recycling and reuse
- Plastic recycling
- Online citizen science
New Zealand generates almost 3.2 million tonnes of waste that is buried in landfill sites. Waste disposed of in this way is an inefficient use of resources, as much of the waste could have been separated and reused, recycled or turned into compost.
Waste management – Article
Oceans of rubbish – Article
Household waste – Image
The way we dispose of wastes in New Zealand has changed dramatically over the last few decades. We have moved from literal dumps and tips to complex landfill systems. The following activities cover engineering practices, a timeline of rubbish disposal, waste management and minimisation in our local environments.
Structure of landfills – Article
Looking at modern landfill systems – Activity
Label the landfill – Activity
Modern landfill system – Interactive
Thinking about landfills – Activity
A biodegradable object is one that will break down quickly and safely into harmless compounds by using the action of microorganisms. Composting is another name for biodegrading.
Biodegradability – Article
Measuring biodegradability – Article
Biodegradability experiment – Activity
Soil means life – Article
Observing soil microbes (composting) – Activity
Potato plates – This introductory article links to articles, media and student activities.
Testing the degradability of potato plates – Activity
Bioplastics – Article
The ZESPRI biospife – Article
Climate action – Article
When you can make plastics that have an environmental benefit or don’t use fossil fuels, that gives me an extra drive and a passion to develop an end product.
Dr Martin Markotsis
Waste – a growing challenge! – Article, level 1–4 resources on waste and recycling
There are exciting new developments in plastic waste recycling in New Zealand, find out more.
Plastics and recycling – Article
Flight Plastics recycling technology – Article
DIY plastic recycling plant – Activity
Plastic – reuse, recycle or rubbish game – Activity
What happens to our plastic bottles? – Activity
Plastic is a wicked problem. It’s incredibly useful, but it’s also a huge environmental issue. A helpful resource is Thinking about plastic – planning pathways which includes our interactive planning pathway – use this to begin a cross-curricular look at plastics.
New Zealand science organisations Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor have created reports and resources to help us rethink plastic, included is an interactive timeline giving a short history plastic – innovations and some of the impacts.
Citizen scientists are volunteers who contribute to scientific projects, usually by collecting or analysing data.
Discover how teacher Dianne Christenson used the online citizen science project The Plastic Tide to help develop students’ science capabilities in a unit on sustainability in this case study and unit plan.
Current citizen science projects you could participate in with your students: