Plastics are made from natural materials such as wood, coal and oil. They can also be changed into synthetic materials with different properties. Plastic can be thin and transparent or thick and opaque. We see lots of examples of different types of plastic.

First broadcast:
1 October 2007

As part of a topic on materials, this clip is a handy revision tool of the key words used to describe materials eg opaque. Before watching the clip, present the pupils with a variety of materials to identify, such as different types of plastic (polythene, Perspex), wood, rock, and metal. Ask them to group them and define their sorting criteria. Once the plastics have been examined, discuss the properties of the material. What do the pupils think plastic is made of? Why is the material useful? What words would you use to describe plastics? Watch the clip to define the uses and properties of plastics. As a follow up practical activity, pupils could design an experiment to test a particular property of plastics eg flexibility, strength, transparency.