Plastic Worksheets

The science of materials is the basis of much recycling knowledge and helps scientists work out how to recycle stuff better. Many of the sorting machines used to separate out recycling rely on scientific principles; for example, some plastics are separated using floating and sinking machines.

Most plastic can be recycled everywhere in Devon. Plastic bottles, tubs and pots are recycled in kerbside collections (see our District Recycling Sheets). Hard plastics like toys and plastic outdoor chairs can be recycled at Household Waste Recycling Centres. Find your nearest one on our main Recycling website.

The worksheets on this page will help young people understand the science of the material called plastic. We hope doing these activities will create better scientists and more critical thinkers. We know the wicked problems (complex and difficult issues like climate change and biodiversity loss) we are leaving the next generation will need some innovative thinking to solve them!


Person in blue plastic gloves holiding a piece of clear plastic with background of scientific looking machine

Downloadable Worksheets

Plastic Worksheets: Home Activity

Downloadable Worksheets

Plastic Worksheets KS3-4

Downloadable Worksheets

Plastic Worksheets KS2

Downloadable Worksheets

Plastic Worksheets KS1

This activity will help KS1 children (aged 5-7) to understand some of the properties of plastic as a material. It links with the National Curriculum and is a fun and active way of teaching science.

Downloadable Worksheets

Plastic Worksheets

The science of materials is the basis of much recycling knowledge and helps scientists work out how to recycle stuff better. Many of the sorting machines used to separate out recycling rely on scientific principles; for example, some plastics are separated using floating and sinking machines.

Most plastic can be recycled everywhere in Devon. Plastic bottles, tubs and pots are recycled in kerbside collections (see our District Recycling Sheets). Hard plastics like toys and plastic outdoor chairs can be recycled at Household Waste Recycling Centres. Find your nearest one on our main Recycling website.

The worksheets on this page will help young people understand the science of the material called plastic. We hope doing these activities will create better scientists and more critical thinkers. We know the wicked problems (complex and difficult issues like climate change and biodiversity loss) we are leaving the next generation will need some innovative thinking to solve them!


Person in blue plastic gloves holiding a piece of clear plastic with background of scientific looking machine

Downloadable Worksheets

Icons representing digital and media literacy

Media Literacy

We are surrounded by media in lots of different forms, whether it’s through the old style print media like newspapers or magazines, or websites, or social media. They are all written with a certain viewpoint. Every piece of writing has been written with a different agenda and a select audience in mind. In our ever changing and fast moving world we need to learn the skills to access, analyse, evaluate and create media in all its forms so we can gather a balanced view of the world around us and what is happening. This page will help teachers educate about media literacy, using examples from the waste industry, including subjects around the plastic pollution problem and other recent issues.

Watch the BBC Bitesize video on how to evaluate digital information and websites.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/clips/zw8mtfr


The information on this page can also be downloaded as a separate sheet.

Download Media Literacy Information

Four Principles of Digital Literacy:


There are four main principles of digital media literacy. When looking at items online it will help to consider these things:


What is the article about? Can you understand the message, both explicit (what is written about) and implicit (what message is conveyed/implied but left unsaid). What is the purpose of the article/video/picture/video/meme?

All digital media relates to another form of media somehow. What is the source of the article/video/picture/video/meme? Who made it? Where is the information contained in it from? Is it a reputable and verifiable source?

Sharing and passing on the message is critical in our everyday interactions with digital media. Who shared this with you? Was this suggested to you because of something else you clicked on? Who will you share it with? (THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!)

Choosing what we like and don’t like has taken on a meaning of it’s own in our online lives. We need an awareness of where information has come to us from and who might have curated it for us to read or discover. How is this article/video/picture/video/meme stored and collected?

Questions to ask about media:


It is easy to be fooled by websites, posts or other online media. Use the prompts below to help decipher and decode what different websites or social media is telling you.


  • Who wrote the content?
  • Was it a company? Government? Individual?
  • Think about their possible bias or slant on the subject.
  • Why was it written? Think about what it is saying, both explicitly (plainly) or implicitly (is their a hidden message).
  • Do you trust the author?
  • Is the information out of date?
  • When was it written?
  • Is it believable?
  •     What does the design of the website tell you?
  •     Has it been made professionally?
  •     Are there spelling mistakes and grammatical errors?
  • Does an internet search including the words “fake” or “scam” come up with any hits?
  • Is it a verified source?
  • Where does the website appear in a search engine?
  • What might the ranking of the website in the search engine tell you?
  • Look for promotion of sponsored material or popular sites.
  • Is it promoted by another company or interest group?
  •     Does the website seem fair?

Questions to ask about images:


You can also go further with more research to understand the images that accompany posts and articles and help you decide if what you are seeing has actually happened or has been doctored to appear a certain way.


  •     Who took the picture?
  •     Who published the picture?
  •     Government? Individual?
  •     Think about their possible bias or slant on the subject
  •     Look for the oldest or original picture
  •     Why was it taken?
  •     Was it staged for dramatic effect?
  •     Are the images accurate?
  •     Have they been modified or changed in some way?
  •     Perform a reverse image search to find out the history and background of an image.
  •     Be skeptical, not cynical!
  •     Does the image seem a fair representation of the facts?

Microplastics on Snowdon!

This lesson plan will help students from Y5 to Y8 evaluate and assess some recent news stories from the waste industry, understanding what is going on and what might be happening behind the scenes when we read things online.

Download Lesson Plan on Digital Literacy: Microplastics on Snowdon

Download Powerpoint for Digital Literacy Lesson: Microplastics on Snowdon

The Textiles Conundrum

This lesson plan will help students from Y8 to Y11 evaluate and assess a contemporary waste management issue, understanding the current situation and what might be happening behind the scenes when we read stories and adverts online.

The Textile Industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Find out more in the Ted Ed lesson here: https://ed.ted.com/on/uRCT8bE3.

Clothing and fashion companies are always trying to sell us more clothes. What can we do when we know that this is unsustainable? Some companies may also try to “greenwash” what they do, so it appears that they are following eco-conscious practices, while continuing to follow practices that cause harm to the environment. Often this means it can be hard to work out whether the company is genuinely trying to work hard to protect the environment, reduce their carbon footprint and reduce waste, or just trying to retain customers and maximise profits.

See the lesson plan below which will help older secondary age students analyse the information that is being given to them and make good choices when it comes to buying and disposing of clothes.

Download Lesson Plan on Digital Literacy: Understanding the textiles industry

Download Info and Question Cards on Digital Literacy: Understanding the textiles industry

Download Powerpoint for Digital Literacy Lesson: Understanding the textiles industry

More Information

There is loads of good quality information out there to understand what the internet and social media is trying to tell you, why you should question what you see sometimes and how to decipher and decode our ever more digital lives.

Here is a Youtube playlist of some useful information about fact checking your social media.

And a useful article about some factchecking websites and there are also some factchecking Twitter feeds like Factcheck.org and Politifact.

A picture of an dead albatross with a stomach full of plastic washed up on a beach

Environment Agency School Resources

Plastic Pollution Teaching Resources

A set of 4 lessons produced by the Environment Agency to help teach about plastic pollution. ​The Plastics team of the Environment Agency have produced a set of resources for teachers and other professionals to teach primary school children about the plastic pollution problem and to help children realise that we all have a part to play in making plastic pollution a thing of the past. ​The resources can be downloaded below and are divided into different Key stages: Key Stage 1 Lower (Year 1, children aged 5-6), Key Stage 1 Upper (Year 2, children aged 6-7), Key Stage 2 Lower (Year 3/4, children aged 7-9), Key Stage 2 Upper (Year 5/6, children aged 9-11).

EA Teaching Resources: KS1 Lower

School resources pack for teaching Lower KS1 children (Year 1) about plastic pollution through an interactive workshop that should take 1-1.5 hours. Learning objectives:

  1. To be able to describe some of the effects of plastic on animals and the environment.
  2. To give an example of how everyone can help to make plastic pollution a thing of the past.

KS1 Lower Teacher Pack KS1 Lower Presentation KS1 Lower Animal Cards (with print lines) KS1 Lower Animal Cards KS1 Lower Animal Worksheet KS1 Lower Colouring Sheet KS1 Lower Pairs KS1 Lower Recycling Bins KS1 Lower Recycling Items KS1 Lower Word Bank

EA Teaching Resources: KS1 Upper

School resources pack for teaching Upper KS1 children (Year 2) about plastic pollution through an interactive workshop that should take 1-1.5 hours. Learning objectives:

  1. Describe what a habitat is;
  2. Explain some of the problems that plastic can cause in the environment.

KS1 Upper Teacher Pack KS1 Upper Animals for Habitats KS1 Upper Poster KS1 Upper Sea Habitats KS1 Upper Word Bank KS1 Upper Presentation

EA Teaching Resources: KS2 Lower

School resources pack for teaching Lower KS2 children (Year 3/4) about plastic pollution through an interactive workshop that should take 1-1.5 hours. Learning objectives:

  1. To understand that plastic can enter the environment in a number of ways which can cause harm to a number of organisms.
  2. Be able to understand how their choices can reduce the amount of plastic entering environment.

KS2 Lower Teacher Pack KS2 Lower Lunch Box Items KS2 Lower Plastic Bottle Lifecycle KS2 Lower Word Bank KS2 Lower Presentation

EA Teaching Resources: KS2 Upper

School resources pack for teaching Upper KS2 children (Year 5/6) about plastic pollution through an interactive workshop that should take 1-1.5 hours. Learning objectives:

  1. ​To understand how to conduct a scientific survey in the field
  2. To apply previous knowledge to solve a new problem

KS2 Upper Teacher Notes KS2 Upper Quadrats KS2 Upper Word Bank KS2 Upper Worksheet for Quadrats KS2 Upper Powerpoint