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Author

Undecided with Matt Ferrell

Grades

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Subjects

Social Studies, Economics, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 12 minutes, 42 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global

Format

YouTube Video

Is Mycelium the Plastic of the Future?

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Synopsis
  • This video explores a sustainable alternative to plastic, Mycelium technology, and how it will help us achieve a renewable future. 
  • Students will learn about the production of Mycelium, its uses, and the benefits of replacing plastics with this biodegradable material. 
Teaching Tips

Positives

  • Mycelium technology has applications in many industries including packaging, food, clothing, wearables, and construction.
  • The video highlights popular brands that are using this technology like Adidas and Lululemon.
  • The way the speaker explains is very exciting and entertaining.

Additional Prerequisites

  • There are two ads at the beginning of the video.
  • There is a promotion for the sponsor, Curiosity Stream, embedded part-way through the video from 7:11 to 8:05.

Differentiation

  • Teachers may want to periodically pause the video to make sure students have time to understand each section.
  • Economics classes could use this resource to discuss how new technologies can have cost-effective production and save industries money.
  • Science and engineering teachers could challenge students to evaluate this technology and compare it with other plant-based plastic alternatives.
  • Students could choose one of the industries mentioned in the video and research how mycelium is being used in that sector today.
  • Cross-curricular connections can be made with chemistry by comparing the molecular structure of synthetic polymers with natural polymers like those found in mycelium.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on the harms of plastic pollution, this resource about material production, and this community action project that offers a solution to the use of plastic bags.
Scientist Notes
This resource spotlights the importance of mycelium in improving the building, food, packaging, and clothing industries. It presents candidates that can reduce microplastic waste, limit CO2, and reduce plastic pollution completely. This technology requires governments' support for replicability and scalability. The resource is recommended for teaching.
Standards
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 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.
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