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Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Health

Resource Type

  • Videos, 9 minutes, 1 second, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Plastic Pollution: How Humans Are Turning the World into Plastic

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  • This video includes the history of plastic, a description of different plastics and their uses, marine pollution, microplastics, biomagnification, and plastics found in humans. 
  • The video concludes with observations on the complicated role of plastic and specific action items to reduce plastic pollution. 
Teaching Tips


  • The video offers a nuanced view, instead of just claiming to "ban all plastics." (For example, plastic is used in life-saving medical equipment and to keep food fresh in places that lack robust refrigeration networks.)
  • Beautiful animations bring this video to life.

Additional Prerequisites

  • You have have to watch an ad before and/or during the video.


  • Social studies or civics students could research specific legislation banning plastic. Many municipal governments in the United States have plastic bag bans or similar legislation to reduce plastic pollution.
  • Students could create a campaign in their school or community to ban single-use plastics. Campaigns could include specific items like water bottles, plastic bags, or balloons. More robust campaigns would change systems, such as the removal of vending machines; changing plastic-intensive holiday traditions such as birthdays, Halloween, or Valentine's Day; or changing systems in the cafeteria.
  • Students could watch this similar video to further their understanding.
  • Art students could watch this video before analyzing murals called "Sea of Plastic" or "Plastic Culture."
Scientist Notes
This resource video accurately characterizes the complexity of the plastic pollution problem. It is a multifaceted dilemma that does not have one single solution. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 11-12.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS.ESS3.3 Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
  • Social Sciences
    • Social Science Analysis (K-12)
      • HS.75 Evaluate options for individual and collective actions to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
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