Science Sampler: Plastics in our environment—A jigsaw learning activity by: Elaine Hampton, Mary Ann Wallace, and Wen-Yee Lee

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In this lesson, a ready-to-teach cooperative reading activity, students learn about the effects of plastics n our environment, specifically that certain petrochemicals act as artificial estrogens and impact hormonal activities. Much of the content in this lesson was synthesized from recent medical research about the impact of xenoestrogens and spun off from a curriculum project sponsored by the U.S. Army Research office.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:40 AM

This cooperative reading activity is used to help students understand how plastics in our work are dangerous to living organisms. Four essays are provided to initiate this reading activity. Using a jigsaw approach each group gets one essay and they become the experts of that topic. This procedure is explained and extensions and cross curricular ideas are also provided in this article.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:47 PM

The authors have put a lot of work into developing a jigsaw activity that discusses some of the dangers of plastics. However, only one of the articles provides a balanced viewpoint stating benefits of the use of plastics. While I agree, plastic in the environment is a definite problem, the argument is rather one-sided and inflammatory as presented. I like this activity, and I would probably use it, but I would also want to present the other side of the story- what products would be impossible without plastics? Do plastics provide ANY benefit to the environment (substituting for ivory, replacing certain types of wood, etc.). While I want my students to know the definite drawbacks, I want them to know why we just can't completely stop the use of plastics and maybe include a discussion of what would be some relatively safe uses for plastics and how can we get them Out of the environment?

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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