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Undecided with Matt Ferrell


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Economics

Resource Type

  • Videos, 11 minutes, 46 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus

Global, North America, Caribbean, Africa


YouTube Video

Why Algae Could Be the Plastic of the Future

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  • This video explains how plastic waste (particularly from the fashion industry) has become a significant burden to our world, and how algae-based products are a more sustainable and biodegradable alternative. 
  • Students will learn about the process of turning algae into footwear and some of the startups that are developing algae-based footwear as an alternative to petroleum-based/plastic footwear. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video is packed with facts and statistics that help validate the arguments made.
  • This solution can help address dead zones and water pollution from over-fertilizing lawns, industrial agriculture, and construction projects.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video has two ads.


  • Students could create a public service announcement educating consumers about algae-based footwear, including data and fact-based arguments.
  • Economics classes could look further into the recent market growth of algae products as well as future market predictions.
  • Teachers may choose to pause the video periodically to give students a chance to comprehend the material, as the video is packed with information and the video moves quickly.
  • A note-taking guide may help guide students as they watch.  This could include headings such as: Harms of Plastics, Benefits of Algae, or Companies Already Replacing Petroleum-Based Plastics with Algae.
  • Other resources on this topic include this video on another sustainable alternative to plastic, this mural that explores plastic usage in society, and this video on the harms of plastic pollution.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a 12-minute video that presents some of the prototype and up-and-coming possibilities for using algae to produce biodegradable plastics. Currently, startups that are trying to replace petroleum-based plastics in shoes, such as flip-flops, are testing the practicality of algae-based shoe wear. This video is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • 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.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.6.3 Understand and evaluate a speaker’s argument and specific claims, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
      • SL.11-12.3 Understand and 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.
  • Social Studies
    • Economics
      • SS.Econ1.a.m Predict the opportunity costs of various decisions and explain why the opportunity cost might differ from person to person or in different situations. Assess how limited resources (e.g., money, land, natural resources, workers, time) impact the choices of individuals, households, communities, businesses, and countries.
  • Related Resources


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