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    Take a look around you. Everything you see has come from the natural world. This level 4 Connected article focuses on the importance of recycling so that we don’t use up more natural resources than our planet can regenerate and so we avoid sending reusable materials to landfills.

    The article explores the properties and manufacturing of different materials, and students are encouraged to think about some complex issues such as microfibre pollution and plastic recycling.

    Sustainability issues such as recycling provide an excellent way to get students involved in the science capability ‘Engage with science’ and develop their sense of competence to take action for the environment.

    Check your school library for this article from the 2017 level 4 Connected journal ‘Where to next?’, download it as a Google slide presentation or order it from the Ministry of Education.

    The teacher support material (TSM) can be downloaded from TKI (Word and PDF files are available, click on ‘Look inside this issue’). These materials include the science learning activities ‘The problem with plastic’ and ‘Waste not, want not’, and the technology activities provide examples of how science can be applied to solving problems, encouraging students to be solution focused. Literacy strategies support students to get the most out of the text and include important skills useful when approaching scientific vocabulary.

    Related content

    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.

    Plastic is an amazing material. This article explores the history and properties of plastic.

    Want to find out what a landfill looks like? Try this online labelling interactive or paper-based activity and information resource.

    Find out more about the technology that Flight Plastics uses to sort and recycle PET plastics.

    These resources support students in levels 1–4 with learning about waste and recycling.

    The Hub activity DIY plastic recycling plant uses a Flight Plastics video and written resources to design and operate a PET plastic wash and recycling plant, loosely based on the Flight Plastics process. It is suitable for middle and upper primary students.

    Useful links

    The Building Science Concepts Book 60 Rubbish: How Do We Deal with It? and Book 61 Recycling: New Uses for Rubbish support the understanding that materials can be classified by their properties.

    Two books in the Figure It Out series offer activities that link to the theme of this article: Sustainability (levels 2+–3+) and Using Resources (levels 3+–4+).

    The Curious Minds article Can recycling reduce homelessness? provides an example of students engaging with science and getting involved in finding solutions to complex problems.

    The Connected journals can be ordered from the Down the Back of the Chair website. Access to these resources is restricted to Ministry-approved education providers. To find out if you are eligible for a login or if you have forgotten your login details, contact their customer services team on 0800 660 662 or email orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz.

    Acknowledgement

    The Connected series is published annually by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand.

      Published 7 February 2019 Referencing Hub articles