Person in protective clothing picking litter

Free resources for Key Stage 2 teachers to contribute to landmark plastic pollution study

Plastic is quite literally choking our oceans and everything in them. But where does it all come from and how can we stop this from happening? The Rivers Trust and Preventing Plastic Pollution are calling on primary schools across the country to help leading scientists find out!

Rebecca Duncan


Aimed at Key Stage 2 students, our Citizen Science & Litter Pick lesson plans will guide teachers and their classes through a litter pick activity. Schoolchildren will learn about why plastic pollution is a problem and how litter around the school can actually end up in the sea!

Around 80% of all marine litter comes from a land source and many items find their way to the ocean via rivers. We are increasingly seeing the devastation plastic and microplastics have on the natural environment, and coverage of pollution in the oceans is now commonplace. These lessons are not just about learning and raising awareness but also about inspiring action and behaviour change to protect the natural world from the harms of plastic pollution.

As well as developing an online open-source platform for schools around the country to submit their data, the Rivers Trust has made a fun and easy-to-use toolkit with a presentation and lesson plans which bring to life the issue of plastic pollution and guide teachers through a 90-minute lesson and litter picking activity.

Clare Whitelegg, East of England Project Officer at the Rivers Trust, said: “We are really excited to bring this resource to schools as it empowers children to make a visible difference to their school environment by keeping their outdoor spaces plastic free and preventing plastic from polluting rivers and watercourses.

“We have trialled this lesson in primary schools in Norfolk and the feedback both from teachers and students has been very positive, with the lesson sparking further conversation around responsibilities for littering and around packaging production.

“By submitting their data on the citizen science platform, children will see their results appear in real time and see how their efforts are contributing to an international research project on preventing plastic pollution.”

Explore our free resources

The Citizen Science & Litter Pick activity includes:

  • Lesson plans for lower and upper Key Stage 2, (with links to the citizen science platform)
  • A presentation on preventing plastic pollution to use in class
  • Guidance on how to run a litter pick safely around your school

Click here to access the materials.

Preventing Plastic Pollution project logo including EU flag
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