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The Kid Should See This


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Chemistry, Biology

Resource Types

  • Videos, 5 minutes, 55 seconds, CC, Subtitles
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

Global, Asia

Could Microbes Eat Your Plastic Trash?

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  • This video and brief article discusses the discovery of plastic-eating microbes and the massive problems that plastics have caused for our planet and our health.  
  • Students will learn about the solutions to plastic pollution, including a reduction in plastic use, as they watch this animated video.
Teaching Tips


  • This video describes scientific concepts and uses engaging graphics to help explain them.
  • Links to 12 other related resources are embedded within the article.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Provide students with background information on types of plastics, focusing on PET plastics.
  • Celsius is the temperature unit used throughout this video, so be sure students have familiarity with it.


  • Research other innovative solutions to the plastic pollution problem, such as this new chemical recycling technology or sustainable, biodegradable alternatives to plastic, such as algae or mycelium. 
  • Have students watch the linked video in the article describing how to make bioplastic using water, corn starch, vinegar and glycerin, and either do this experiment in class, watch the video and write about the process, or give students the opportunity to try it at home as an optional extension activity.
  • Consider using this video to provide some related information on microbes and their connections to climate change.
  • Pair students up to further research the history of plastic and why plastic is having such a devastating impact on our planet, and then have them report their new findings back to the class.
Scientist Notes
This website provides a brief synopsis of a ~6 minute video that discusses the use of plastics and how reducing the use of single-use plastics can help to reduce pollution. The transition to bioplastics is discussed, along with an activity where students can make their own bioplastic with water, corn starch, vinegar, and glycerin. This video and activity would be a great addition to a classroom discussing sustainability and different ways to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
      • HS-ETS1-3 Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-3 Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for the cycling of matter and flow of energy in aerobic and anaerobic conditions.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author's ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.9-10.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.11-12.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Related Resources


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