Science KS2: Trashing the deep

Scientists now believe that there is not a single habitat on the planet that has not been affected by plastic, and that includes the deep ocean.

Marine Biologist, Diva Amon investigates the human impact of pollution in the deep sea and how deep sea mining is threatening to destroy valuable habitats.

This clip is from the BBC series, Blue Planet Live. Below are a few ideas to get you started with your class.

Teacher Notes

Sorting materials – are they where they should be?

The learners should list the items they see in the video that do not naturally occur in the sea.

They can then identify what they are made from and try to explain why there may be damage to the environment from them being there.

The learners could write posters or leaflets about responsible disposal of materials.

What happens if we mine the seas?

The learners should start to think about where we get materials from.

If the home of the living things are taken away (the hydrothermal vents) what will happen to them?

There are opportunities for them to write short sentences explaining why the habitats should not be destroyed.

What is a healthy ocean?

The scientists talk about the ocean being healthy… after considering what a healthy life is for themselves the learners should think about why the oceans they saw in the video did not seem healthy.

The learners should write persuasively about the potential pollution when plastics are discarded.

They could write about the journey of a plastic bottle thrown away to the bottom of the sea.

There is an opportunity to introduce the challenges of plastics in society.

Why are plastics a problem?

Learners should consider the properties of plastics that make them good for their uses – linking structure, purpose and function.

They can then work in small groups to suggest alternatives to plastic options for particular purposes and selecting appropriate materials.

The learners can be introduced to the ideas of plastics in the food chains and by starting to look at what happens if a small fish eats plastics how these move up the food chain and ultimately could be consumed by humans.

Why is removing hydrothermal vents a problem?

The learners should be able to evaluate the impact of loss of habitat in terms of the organisms living within and around them, the implications for the food chain and begin to explore potential lost.

To challenge the learners they can discuss why the metals from the washing machines are pollutants but the metals in the hydrothermal vents are not.

The ‘Big’ Questions (with opportunities for extended writing and discussion)

Is it important to find out about what is happening in the deep ocean when it is so far away from us?

How do we persuade people about the problem of plastics?

There are undiscovered plants and animals on earth and in the sea… should we be trying to make sure we don’t destroy them even if we don’t know what they are yet.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching Science at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd level in Scotland.

More from Blue Planet Live

The effects of industrial fishing on Silky Sharks
Protecting stingrays in the Bahamas
Protecting the Mediterranean Monk Seal
The declining food supplies for South African penguins