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Material World

‘Material World’ uses Geography and Science to encourage upper KS2 pupils to explore the resources we find on our planet, how we use them and what we can do to conserve them and live in a more sustainable manner.

The pack integrates:

  •  exploration of materials
  •  geographical investigations and case studies
  •  deliberation of our ‘wants’ and ‘needs’
  •  exploration of the ethics of consumerism
  •  ideas for practical action

This pack consists of six lessons which are designed to run consecutively over a half term, or during a focussed topic week, culminating in a day of pupils taking action in their school or community.

Preview selected pages below



Below are some videos on the Circular Economy that may be useful:

'Wants and Needs' activity

There is a big difference between the things we 'want' and what we actually 'need' in order to survive. This 1.5 hour long activity explores everyday materials, the resources they are made from and the impact of how they are made.

It can be used as part of Geography, Science and Citizenship and is part of the Material World teaching pack.

What about Waste?

Literacy packs have been developed by an experienced KS2 teacher to develop pupils’ core literacy skills while extending their understanding of waste issues. One pack is for year 3 and 4 pupils, the other for pupils in year 5 and 6.

Both packs comprise of 10 clear and easy to use lesson plans and supporting documents, which address literacy objectives for KS2 pupils using the topical theme of rubbish and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).

What about Waste? for year 3 and 4

Curriculum areas covered are: explanation, instruction, persuasive writing, play script writing, play script performance, poetry writing and poetry performance.


What about waste? for year 5 and 6 below

Areas covered are: recount, instruction, explanation, persuasive writing, descriptive language, descriptive writing, poetry writing and poetry performance.



Litter Pack - information for schools

We have written a useful litter pack to help teachers and school staff organise litter picks or beach cleans and teach children about more about litter and the issues behind plastic in the oceans. The pack contains lesson plans for a series of five lessons, which could be taught as a week long topic, or one lesson a week throughout a term.

Devon County Council also has a set of child sized litter pickers that you can borrow for free. Contact lucy.mottram@devon.gov.uk for further details.

Do your bit - help Devon's countryside and beaches stay clean! Remember to dispose of your litter correctly - every bit you pick up is one less piece of rubbish entering our environment and harming wildlife.

​Download the whole pack here:

Litter Pack: Lesson Plans and Powerpoints

Download a set of five lesson plans about litter and the plastic pollution problem, along with Powerpoints you can use to help your teaching.

Written by a fully qualified teacher especially for schools in Devon and covering several parts of the National Curriculum in KS2 Science, Geography and Art, these lessons could form part of a week long topic on litter and plastic pollution, or use them as a weekly talking point or part of a half term's unit on Sustainability. Why not do a Beach Clean or Litter Pick with your class at the end of the topic?

Easy Guide to doing Beach Cleans and Litter Picks with your Class

Follow our easy 10 Step Guide to Beach Cleans and Litter Picks and organise one for your class. This set of downlaods includes information on how to contact landowners and beach managers and what to do with the rubbish, as well as template Risk Assessments.

This information is for school teachers in Devon and will be of limited help to anyone outside the county.

What can we do?

Download this Action Sheet to distribute to children and their families outlining simple things they can do to help resolve the plastic pollution and litter problem. Everything they do can have a positive impact on their environment, both locally and worldwide.

Download Literacy Lesson Plans

Here you can download lesson plans created exclusively for Devon teachers. There are so many great ways to link sustainability, waste and recycling topics with literacy. Take a look at our new Book List, a useful resource if you want to add to your school library, or find a book for your age group about waste and recycling.

Here Comes the Garbage Barge!

Teach your class about The Garbage Barge

Inspired by the story of the Garbage Barge in 1987 this lesson plan brings recent history to life, with the help of the book "Here Comes The Garbage Barge".

CAUTION: this lesson may provoke discussion of waste issues!

In 1987 a barge loaded with rubbish made the trip of a lifetime, all the way from its point of origin on Long Island, New York, USA, down the coast to North Carolina, then southwards and onwards, via Louisiana to Mexico, Belize, Florida, returning eventually to Long Island after 9 months at sea. A book, named Here Comes the Garbage Barge, written in 2010 by Jonah Winter, conjures up the story, illustrated with fascinating pictures, and brought to life in a Youtube video. Follow the story with your class, and find out the differences between fact and fiction in another Youtube video. See both on our Youtube video channel here.

Download a Powerpoint for the lesson here and a lesson plan here.


Brilliant Rubbish Books

There are a huge selection of books available that can help teach children about waste, recycling and the environment. Here we list and review some of our favourites. These are all taken from our more comprehensive Book List. The books shown here would make lovely presents for children at Christmas, or could be used as part of a topic about waste, recycling, the 3Rs and resource management.