an item or two marked with a plastic recycling symbol. Use a disposable
cup made of clear plastic or Styrofoam, a plastic bag, or a plastic
food package. Let the students find the symbol and note its number.
Although plastic recycling numbers are voluntary, discuss why
many manufacturers include them on new products. The recycling numbers
occur in many places on plastic items and not in a standard location.
Distribute the Plastic Packaging activity sheet to each student.
Preview the directions with the class. Suggest qualities such as color,
thickness, and transparency for the students and their family members
to notice on item 2 on the sheet. Ask students to complete and bring
their activity sheets back to class within an appropriate time period
(a few days or up to a week). Students may need grid paper
to graph the data collected on the activity sheet.
Students can compile the total numbers of unmarked plastic items
and the number with each marking. Have group representative help to
compile a chart or graph of the class's findings. Help students analyze
the data using the Questions for Students (below.)
If feasible, students can work with their families to develop
plans to conserve and recycle plastics. Invite students to share some
of their families' suggestions about conserving and recycling plastics.