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Topics

Arithmetic Operations, Expressions and Equations

Grades

3rd, 4th, 5th

Subject

Mathematics

Duration

90 minutes

Regional Focus

Global

Format

Google Docs, Google Slides

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This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Solutions to Multiplying Plastic

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Apr 24, 2024
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Synopsis
In this lesson, students use multiplication to understand the problem of single-use plastics and how they impact climate change.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students describe a photo, wonder about the origin of the plastic waste they see, and identify their feelings surrounding plastic pollution.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students complete multi-step math problems about single-use plastic water bottles, and learn about the connection between disposable plastics, pollution, and climate change.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students complete multiplication problems that show how small positive actions can have a big impact, brainstorm about the use of disposable plastics in their school, home, or community, and write a letter to persuade someone to take action to reduce the use of plastic.
Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • This lesson can be used in conjunction with the Sustainable Jersey for Schools actions. In addition, students can work with the teacher to write a grant for a hydration station where students can refill reusable water bottles.

  • This lesson can be used in conjunction with ClimateScience’s Carbon Footprint Class Project.

  • Students use multiplication skills to understand a real-world problem and learn how small actions can have a big impact.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with multiplication steps and how to set up a problem. 

  • Teacher should have access to whiteboards. Alternatively, students can write their answers on the classroom’s whiteboard or chalkboard.

  • Students may want to know why they cannot drink from disposable water bottles over and over. Teacher can use this information to explain why reusing disposable plastic water bottles can be harmful.

  • Teachers should be careful not to place blame on individuals or students in the class who may bring plastic water bottles from home. The massive production of single-use plastic water bottles and the promotion and sale of single-use plastics is beyond the control of individuals, especially children who are not responsible for making decisions about the purchase of these items. 

    • Teachers can emphasize actions their school or class can collectively take to support students and others who would like to reduce their use of plastics. For example, the class might decide to provide paper or reusable cups for students.

    • Students can encourage stores and decision-makers to find alternatives to single-use plastics.

Differentiation

  • Teacher can bring in examples of a reusable water bottle and a disposable water bottle so students can better see the difference between the two.

  • Students can brainstorm ways to reduce their impact on climate change as individuals, as a class, or as a school by using less plastic. After, students can make a poster to share what they learned with others.

  • The facts in the optional online plastics quiz in the Investigate section are fairly negative. If it seems overwhelming for the class, this activity and the My Plastics Fact Sheet on the Student Document can be skipped.

  • Teacher or students can research their own local plastics facts, including problems and solutions, to add to the blank My Plastics Fact Sheet on the Student Document.

Scientist Notes

With the help of this lesson, students can come up with ideas for solutions to the issues caused by throwaway plastic garbage in the environment and ocean. They will learn how to use mathematical operations to determine how frequently plastic garbage is generated, particularly in homes and classrooms, and how this contributes to climate change. After fact-checking the lesson's materials, this lesson passed our science credibility process.

Standards

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Mathematics
    • Number & Operations in Base Ten (K-5)
      • 5.NBT.B.5 With accuracy and efficiency, multiply multi-digit whole numbers using the standard algorithm.
    • Operations & Algebraic Thinking (K-5)
      • 4.OA.A.3 Solve multistep word problems posed with whole numbers and having whole-number answers using the four operations, including problems in which remainders must be interpreted. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding.
      • 3.OA.D.8 Solve two-step word problems, including problems involving money, using the four operations. Represent these problems using equations with a letter standing for the unknown quantity. Assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies including rounding. (Clarification: This standard is limited to problems posed with whole numbers and having whole number answers; students should know how to perform operations in the conventional order when there are no parentheses to specify a particular order) (Order of Operations)
  • English Language Arts
    • Writing (K-12)
      • W.AW.3.1 Write opinion texts to present an idea with reasons and information.
      • W.AW.4.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
      • W.AW.5.1 Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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