Day 4 – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Sue Feldman

Target Level: Grade 4, Grade 5

Subject Area: Science, Social Studies

Class Time: 50 minutes



  1. Students will analyze the negative impacts of humans to the natural habitats.
  2. Students will brainstorm ways to reduce garbage.
  3. 3. Students will communicate possible solutions for the United States to minimize the negative impact of trash pollution.

PA State Standards

Subject: Economics

Area 6.3: Scarcity and Choice

Grade/Course 6.3.3: Grade 3

Standard E.: Explain what is given up when making a choice.

Subject: Environment and Ecology

Area 4.2: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources

Grade/Course 4.7.2: Grade 4

Standard D.: Identify by- products and their use of natural resources.

  • Understand the waste stream.
  • Identify those items that can be recycled and those that can not.
  • Identify use of reusable products.
  • Identify the use of compost, landfills and incinerators.

Subject: Humans and the Environment

Area 4.8: Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources

Grade/Course 4.8.4: Grade 4

Standard C.: Explain how human activities may change the environment.

  • Identify everyday human activities and how they affect the environment.
  • Identify examples of how human activities within a community affect the natural environment.

Materials and Use of Technology

Materials and resources

  • Video of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • World Map
  • Chart paper/Markers



Sequence of Instruction Including Hook and Closure

Hook – Today we will be using the interactive SmartBoard to discuss wants and needs. I will be looking for good listening and good ideas for students to share today.

  • Show the video on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
  • Use the pull-down map to place sticky notes on the area of the garbage – Pacific Ocean between Japan and California.
  • Why is this a problem for us? For our country? For our world? How is this affecting our planet – our natural resources, our plants, our animals, humans?
  • Pass out four different chart papers, each with a different title:
    • Air pollution
    • Water Pollution
    • Soil Pollution
    • Noise /Light Pollution
  • Divide students into the four groups to brainstorm together types of pollution and its effects over time. Have the group choose a chart writer as the students brainstorm things to go on the charts.
    • Ex. Air pollution: vehicles, factories, trains, forest fires, volcanoes
    • Water pollution: littering, soil erosion,
    • Soil pollution: household dumping, hazardous waste, pesticides
    • Noise/Light: airports, traffic, concerts, billboards, city noise
  • After all groups have worked for about 15 minutes brainstorming and recording their thoughts, bring everyone together to share.