Climate Change and Sustainability 

Climate Change and Sustainability 

The impact of climate change is one of the greatest environmental challenges to face the world. Global warming has resulted in a shift in weather patterns, changing conditions on earth. 

There has been an increasing demand from the earth’s population on the planet’s natural resources. This has resulted in an increase in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. There are a number of finite resources which are set to run out if people continue to pressure the earth’s resources. Recycling, reuse and movement towards reliance on renewable energy sources are all means of dealing with the growing climate change crisis.

That all sounds very serious but what can we do as individuals to help in the fight against climate change. Firstly we need to recognise which materials can be recycled and to do that we need to understand their properties.  

Key Stage:

KS1 Science - Everyday materials
KS2 Science- Knowledge and Understanding


This lesson plan can be used to:
Start a study of the properties of various materials and which are sustainable and which finite.
Develop understanding of which materials can be recycled as part of a school recycling initiative.
Start a study of the impact of climate change on the environment.

<b> Identifying Materials </b>

Identifying Materials

Everyday items found in the home are made of a variety of different materials. These materials all have different properties which make them suitable for their purpose. The proper recycling or reuse of these items requires the ability to identify both these materials and their properties.

<b> Properties of materials </b>

Properties of materials

All materials used to make things we use can be grouped together by their properties. So for example we could put all the materials together that conduct electricity or all the materials that are attracted to a magnet. On a simpler level we can group together all the hard and soft materials or all the rough and smooth objects.

Suggested Classroom Activity

Using the worksheet students can have a go at identifying what everyday items are made from and their properties. 
Ask students to identify what material each item is made from and list the properties.

Download worksheet one.pdf

Suggested Classroom Activity cont

Ask students in small groups to complete the sentences on worksheet 2 using the words provided.
Once each group has completed the sentence, ask the students to create their own example where the blanks are also words from the list.

Download worksheet two.pdf


Now check your answers against ours and see if you agree. Once you have done that why not try creating your own examples using an everyday object in the classroom where the blanks are also words from the list. Test your sentence on your friends.
Understanding the properties of materials and being able to group similar materials together can help us with recycling.

Download worksheet two answers.pdf
<b> Reduce, Reuse and Recycle  </b>

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle 

Reduce, by using less material and keeping things longer. Reuse by finding new uses for old materials. Recycle by putting materials back into the manufacturing of new products. The causes and impact of climate change can appear overwhelming for individuals to tackle but the 3 Rs can be used to manage and handle waste to help prevent environmental damage. Have a close look at what you throw out and discuss what could be improved.

Fiona Campbell 

The work of Fiona Campbell provides an example of creative recycling of discarded objects and materials. She is a sculptor who explores themes of the environment in her work. Examples of recycled items within her work include electrical wire, textiles, string, wire and plastics. Watch this video showing Fiona at work, exploring why she chooses these materials over more traditional options like clay and bronze.
<b> Resources </b>


The earth provides the foundation of life, supplying the natural resources of water, air, timber, rocks, soils and plants. The growing population of the planet is resulting in increasing demand upon resources. Some of these resources are renewable, for example energy from the sun. Others like coal are non-renewable meaning a limited amount exists on earth and this cannot be replaced. These resources are called finite.

Resources cont

Ask students to identify which energy sources are renewable and which are finite from the list on worksheet 3.

Download worksheet three.pdf

Development Activity:

After exploring the work of Fiona Campbell and gaining an introduction to climate change and sustainability, ask students to investigate one form of renewable energy and one finite resource. This investigation should include an introduction and overview to both renewable and non-renewable energy followed by more in-depth research into the two examples selected. 
When investigating the renewable energy source, areas to focus on are: 
- How is this resource used 
- The impact of this on the environment 
- The cost and practicalities of this form of energy 
When investigating the finite resource, areas to focus on are: 
- The history of this resource 
- What can be done to stop natural resources from being fully depleted 
- The impact of so much pressure being placed on natural resources I.e greenhouse gases and global warming.

Learning Objectives:

Through using this lesson plan students should:
Students can group materials according to their properties.  Students can describe the properties of a variety of materials.  Students can explain why materials are used for different purposes.  Students will understand the concept of natural resources.  Students understand that once finite resources are consumed, there will be no more supplies.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan