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Ministry of Education.
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"The Plastic-free Challenge", School Journal, level 2, November 2018

11 November 2018

The first two pages of the article

Room 5 students at Motueka South School saw a video about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and were inspired to take action. There’s a lot of media attention on how plastic is polluting the oceans, and it sometimes seems as if the problem is too big to tackle. These students show that it’s possible to make small changes that lead to big results.

You can find the article and the teaching notes here: The Plastic-free challenge, School Journal, level 2, November 2018

Other useful resources

Exploring food packaging

Students explored different types of food packaging to develop their understandings in the technological products component of technological knowledge.

Three Sustainability Trends Reshaping the Food Packaging Industry  

Read about how consumer demands and legislation are driving the need for more sustainable packaging.


A New Zealand company making reusable wraps for food using cotton fabric and beeswax.

Discussion questions

Students could collect a range of packaging that is used for food products.

 The packaging could be analysed as follows:

  •  Identify the materials that the packaging is made from
  • How have the materials been manipulated (for example, cut into a shape, joined, printed on) to make the packaging?
  • Explore other materials in your classroom that have been used to make products – how have these materials been manipulated to make the product?
  • What are the performance properties of the materials used for the food packaging (refer to such things as strength, water resistance, flexibility, permeability, transparency, and colour) Why have these materials been chosen for this product?
  • What are the lifecycle of these materials?
  • What ideas do you have for making the packaging more environmentally friendly?

Indicators of progression for discussion starters

Component Indicator Level
Characteristics of technology
  • describe the relationship between technology and the made, natural, and social world
  • describe examples to illustrate when technology has had a negative impact on society and/or the environment.
Technological products
  • identify materials that technological products are made from
  • identify performance properties of common materials
  • identify how the materials have been manipulated to make the product.
Technological products
  • describe the performance properties of a range of materials and use these to suggest things the materials could be used for
  • describe feasible ways of manipulating a range of materials
  • suggest why the materials used in particular technological products were selected.

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