Straightforward PPT that makes a usual boring subject interesting for both you and your students!
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The PPT starts off with two hooks. The first involves the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. There was a photographer from VICE magazine who went and documented the birds and reptiles there. Thousands were dying and their stomachs were filled with plastic and metal trash. I show students a picture of one of the birds and ask questions that get them thinking. What is in the bird, what do they eat, why is it full of plastic and metal if they eat insects and fish, etc. I then show students a brief (2 minute) clip on this videographers journey through the garbage patch.
The next slide is just a picture of Pampers diapers. Many students have baby siblings so I ask how many diapers a day their parents usually go through and what happens to those dirty diapers. (Students will likely say half a dozen to ten and that their parents just throw them out). I then have students guess how long it takes for a diaper to completely break down. I show students a graphic that shows how long it takes for a variety of common objects to break down. Diapers take 450 years! Students use this chart to begin to realize how long their trash really sticks around.
Students then take guided notes on watersheds. Anything that is in red my students know to write down. I show them a visual of the Mississippi River that I made, demonstrating how trash from an individual in Minnesota can eventually end up with all the sea life in the Gulf of Mexico. I also show a slide defining elevation because I have learned that many of my ELL students lack understanding on this concept. I use visuals of skyscrapers to help them understand and use this as a chance to show them the Burj al Khalifa in Dubai, the world's tallest skyscraper.
Students in partners or groups then come up with 5 ways that humans could make sure that trash does not end up in our water systems/bodies of water. I cold call on a few to give ideas and then I have three check for understanding questions. Students read these questions on the board silently. When they have an answer, they raise their hand and make a fist to let me know. Once everyone has an answer I count down from three and students use fingers to tell me their answer (A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, D = 4). If students show mastery then we move on.
My students really enjoyed this PPT. I could tell that they thought the lesson would be boring when I first went over the lesson objective but this PPT keeps it interesting and gives them a reason to care about it! They especially love the chart talking about how long it takes for things to break down.
A possible extension activity could be to have students brainstorm and sketch an invention that would help trash avoid bodies of water.