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Educator Resources

Class Discussion

Establish Prior Knowledge

Point out that everyday we come in contact with plastics and plastic products. Ask students to name plastic products that they use. Point out that there are many different kinds of plastic and each kind has different properties. Remind students that the plastic industry has an identification code to label the different types of plastic. These codes are found on the bottom of containers. Tell students that in the Snapshot they are about to see, scientists are conducting a study to determine whether or not a chemical, Bisphenol-A (BPA), found in some plastic products might cause health risks.


Have students read the synopsis and view the snapshot. Have students work in small groups to research and report on the seven distinct types of plastic. In their reports they should identify the chemicals the plastic is made from, its common uses, whether or not it is recyclable, and any health hazards associated with the plastic or its use.

1. Plastic # 1(PETE) and Plastic # 2 (DHPE)

2.  Plastic #3 (PVC) and Plastic #4 (LDPE)

3. Plastic #5 (PP) and Plastic #6(PS)

4. Plastic #7 All other plastic

Have groups report on their findings. Ask students, based on what they have learned, how they would use plastic differently in the future.