Grades K-3 (ages 5-8)

Ocean of Plastic Unit

Teaches students how reusing plastic bags to make art as well as minimizing their daily consumption of single-use plastic can benefit ocean health. Developed by Ellie Kriesher and Dianna Cohen of Plastic Pollution Coalition. Four week unit. Document uploaded.








Australian National Marine Debris database - Teach Wild 

TeachWild is an enquiry based learning program addressing the impacts of marine debris on our marine environment. The program actively engages students in becoming citizen scientists and this includes hands-on learning in scientific methodology, data collection and analysis of marine debris. 






Bash the Trash 
Performance Art/Music/Theater

BTT combines over 20 years of experience performing and teaching  in New York by top professional musicians and educators who focus on science (STEM), sound and sustainability.  They do follow-up hands-on classroom workshops, longer-term residencies and/or family/community events.  Customize workshops and packages for your school.  For K-8th grades.






California Coastal Commission
Bring the coast to your classroom with Save Our Seas

Comprehensive K-12 curriculum series of hands-on math and science based activities designed by California Coastal Commission and Center for Marine Conservation to encourage students to think about: the complexity of environmental problems, why we should care about the marine environment, the ocean pollution problem and how individuals can be part of the solution. Save Our Seas is specifically designed to implement the concepts and approaches embodied in the California Science Framework.  It is divided into four units: grades K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12. Each unit concludes with a "real life" success story about what students of all ages are doing to protect our Earth. All curriculum available for download and print.  

For K-3:

  • Sandcastles and sunburns
  • Marine debris: It can be deadly
  • Trash: It’s Everywhere
  • The storm drain connection
  • Adopt-a-Beach cleanup
  • Take-home recycling kit







California Coastal Commission 
Beach or Schoolyard cleanups

Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest volunteer event in California and is a part of the International Coastal Cleanup, which takes place in 100 countries and 42 U.S. states.

  • An educator's guide for conducting a schoolyard cleanup day as a part of the coastal cleanup day.





Eco Boys and Girls 
in partnership with the National Education Association (NEA) 

The Eco Boys and Girls are illustrated characters intended for children in grades preK-2. Developed by Maria Snyder, the lesson plans help young children become pro-environmental advocates. The Eco Boys and Girls teach the value of respecting the environment by practicing recycling and conservation. The lessons provide experiences across all learning domains focused on caring for the earth, beginning a journey to become environmentally responsible adults. 







Girl Scouts 
It's Your Planet — Love it!

The "It’s your planet — love it!" series invites young girls to make sense of the wealth of environmental information available, and to take action to respect and protect the planet we all call home. Includes downloadable material of all the activities in the program. Brownies — visit lakes, learn about water quality, or hear from experts on WOW! Wonders of Water Journey. They put theory into practice by making informative posters, promoting recycling at school, or planting low-water gardens.

Grades 2-3

  • Learn about water





Heal the Bay Key to the Sea

Key to the Sea is a revolutionary marine environmental education program designed for teachers and elementary school children (K-5) throughout LA County. Heal the Bay and our Partners educate teachers and students alike in watershed stewardship, storm water pollution prevention and marine conservation—through free teacher professional development workshops, classroom activities and a hands on beach science field trip.






Hong Kong Science Museum
Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project 

Education resources accompanying the art exhibit Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project presented by the Hong Kong Science Museum.

  • Activity sheet and Teachers guide provided 





Incredible Oceans — The Whale Company

Hands-on workshops

Hands-on workshops for UK teachers which allow pupils to consolidate learning while also providing fun and innovative links to the National Curriculum. They can be adapted to suit any key stage supporting classroom teaching. Topics include:

  • Microbiology - KS2-KS 5
  • Fish Dissection - KS2-KS5
  • Oil Spill Clean Up - KS1-KS4
  • Salt Water Chemistry - KS1-KS4
  • Water, Water Everywhere - KS1-KS3
  • Beach Activities - Brighton Beach

Lectures at festivals and events around the UK — topics include:

  • The Best Animal Ever (Age 5-Adult)
  • Cetaceans (Age 10-Adult)
  • Under Pressure (Age 10-Adult)



Kokua Hawaii Foundation 

Aina Waste Reduction – Composting lesson  

This Educator's’ Guide to waste reduction and composting provides a downloadable overview and a lesson on Composting.

Grade 3:

  • Overview: Learn to reduce, reuse and recycle wastes in gardens, schoolyards, cafeterias and classrooms
  • Lesson on Waste Reduction - Composting





Lonely_Whale_logo_resized.pngThe Lonely Whale Foundation 

K - 5th GradeProgram Overview:

  • Bilingual, English & Spanish
  • 10 lessons / unit which can be taught within a larger unit per grade, or as a stand alone area of study
  • Co-developed by practicing scientists & marine researchers
  • Focus on team-based problem solving
  • Empathy-based curriculumMeets next generation science standards





Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

In partnership with National Geographic, these classroom materials were developed with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to educate students about pollution in the ocean, lakes and oceans.  Available for download for students from K-12.

 K-4 topics include:

  • Keeping water clean
  • Diving into Monterey Bay




National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris program
An Educator’s Guide to Marine Debris:

  • Lesson 1: Let’s Talk Trash
  • Lesson 2: Trapping Trash
  • Lesson 3: It’s All Downhill From Here

Download the guides ENGLISH | SPANISH







National Network of School Research, Chile
The School and Science, the Problem of Trash

"Scientists Trash" is a program developed by a group of university researchers for use by pupils and teachers to apply the scientific method to investigate the problem of garbage in the coastal zone and propose actions to address current and future environmental problems of today and the future. Grades K-6.

The materials are in Spanish, covering the following:

  • Educational Guides: To implement with students in the field and in the class classroom
  • Environmental stories: animated stories based on scientific information about the garbage problem in nature.
  • Scientific Publications: scientific articles about the issues of garbage generated by researchers of the team
  • Audiovisual materials




Plastic_Free_Curriculum_resized.jpgPlastic Free Curriculum

Pre-K - 2nd Grade - Little ones learn about packaging and recycling in this mini-unit.

Plastic Free Curriculum is a web based not for profit organization formed to help busy PreK-12 teachers provide their students with engaging curriculum on Plastic Pollution.  All units contain stand alone lessons that can be downloaded and used with minimal prep work.  We offer cross-curricular material for all grade levels.  All lessons are Common Core and Next
Generation compatible. We currently offer curriculum for English Language Arts, Social Studies,
and Science classes.  

Plastic Free Curriculum also offers District and building teacher in-service meeting curriculum. 
Our in-service programs help educate teachers and administrators about Plastic Pollution. 
Our in-service programs also offer break out groups and print and go lessons for all grade levels.
We will also collaborate with teachers to write curriculum specific to their classroom
needs.  For more information please contact us at  




Sailors for the Sea 
KELP Program — Pollution and marine debris

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP)

Kids Environmental Lesson Plans (KELP) are fun, easy to use and help students understand the ocean's influence on them and their influence on the ocean.  The section on Pollution and marine Debris includes five downloadable activities and games regarding biomagnification, effects of land use in watersheds, modern and historic sources of pollution to a body of water, effect of plastic on beaches, and beach contamination. Materials are free.

All ages:

*Must register to download




Save Our Shores
Sea Turtle Curriculum

The Save Our Shores initiative fostered a connection between students in California and Indonesia to teach about pacific leatherback sea turtles.

K-3 downloadable resources include:

  • Introductory Leatherback Presentation
  • Card-making in Indonesia
  • Leatherback activities packet
  • Leatherback survival game 




Tara Expeditions 

Learn about organized voyages to study and understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the world’s oceans. Guidance to several student trips, downloadable educational resources and activities available on the following topics: Oceans; Effect of Pollution on Plants and Germination; Solar Energy; Greenhouse Effect; Wind Turbines and more.








 Wisdom_-_Volvo_Race_Challenge018-03-05_at_12.pngVolvo Ocean Race Sustainability Education Programme 

The Volvo Ocean Race Sustainability Education Programme, the world's most extreme race, has put sustainability at its heart and is focusing on taking action to ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ – the rapidly growing and critical problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, highlighted by the United Nations Clean Seas campaign. The Volvo Ocean Race supports this much-needed campaign and the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life below water), through their sustainability team, education programme and positive actions. 

Wisdom, based on a real life Laysan albatross from Midway Atoll in the Pacific, is the race mascot, and guides students (aged 6-12 years) to discover the excitement of sailing through the Volvo Ocean Race, the importance of the ocean and how ocean plastic pollution is damaging our blue planet. Students also learn
ways to combat ocean plastic pollution and how they can make a difference by becoming Volvo Ocean Race
Champions for the Sea!

There are four topics: 1) What is the Volvo Ocean Race? 2) What is Ocean Plastic Pollution? 3) How to reduce
plastic pollution 4) My Positive Plastic Footprint.

The resources for each topic are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch and Chi

All education materials can be downloaded for free.






Waste Wise School Program
Healthy Zero Waste Lunch Toolkit

The Healthy Zero Waste Lunch Toolkit is an operating practices manual that is intended to guide the development and implementation of healthy zero waste lunches in schools. It was developed by the Waste Wise Schools Program which is managed by the Department of Environment and Conservation and supported by the Western Australian Waste Authority through the Waste Management and Recycling Account with additional assistance from the Wrigley Company, a subsidiary of Mars. The guide offers a school community practical tools for reducing waste production and developing sustainable behaviors that support the Zero Waste philosophy.