You will need:

  • Some A4 paper used on both sides and a recycled paper notebook
  • A steel can (tin can) and something made from recycled  steel, like paperclips
  • A plastic drinks bottle and something made from recycled bottles like a fleece

<< Module Overview

Module 1: The Big Picture

Myth busting

Myth busting

This slide show explains why recycling and switching off the lights isn’t going to save the planet!

What to do:

Use the information on the slide show and the activity below to lead a discussion.


file_pptDownload the PowerPoint Slideshow: Myth Busting (1.42 MB)

Consolidate the previous activities, by discussing what has been discovered about our large footprints, and the impacts they cause. Ask for suggestions as to what can be done therefore to reduce the size of our footprints. Can they think of any solutions? You might want to record their answers. They will probably come up with a range of solutions ranging from switching off lights, driving less, turning off taps, to adding insulation to buildings. Explain that all of these activities will make a positive difference but that some of them will make a very small difference and some will make a big difference. Explain that one of the aims of this project is to find out what actions can make a big difference.

It is very likely that one of the first answers given to you will be ‘recycling.’ Ask for three volunteers to come to the front of the class. Tell one pupil that they will be a paper recycling factory. This pupil will need to think about how to recycle the paper into the clean recycled paper notebook. The second pupil will be the plastic recycling factory. This pupil will have to think about how to recycle the plastic bottle into the fleece. The third pupil will try and work out how to recycle the can into paperclips.

In front of the class, give these pupils a thirty second challenge to begin recycling the paper and plastic bottle and steel can. Encourage the rest of the class to shout out suggestions to them. The pupils will probably get into the spirit of the challenge and begin to shred the paper and stamp on the bottle and can. Health and safety tip – make sure that they have strong enough soles on their shoes and tell the pupils to beware of sharp edges.

At the end of the time limit, ask the pupils and the rest of the class to make sensible suggestions about what processes really would happen in a paper recycling factory, a plastic recycling factory and a steel recycling factory. They should be able to work out that a lot of water, chemicals and machinery is used to recycle the paper, and that lots of machinery and heat is used in the plastic and steel factories to clean, shred, melt, mould, etc.

The pupils should be able to conclude that recycling uses a lot of energy, and that is the reason why it is at the bottom of the list ‘reduce, re-use, recycle.’

After you have looked at the slide show, explain that this has been the first session of a project in which pupils will find out about sustainable actions, investigating the local area, and planning a sustainable local future.

You can use this time to ask the pupils how they would like the project to progress. What would they like to find out about? Do they think it’s important to share their learning with other people? If so who and how?