Grades 4-6 (ages 9-12)

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.








Alex the Frog Environmental Education Series

This series of interactive, educational CD-ROMs features irresistible Alex the Frog, a six-foot, hip-hopping frog, as your guide.

  • CD-ROMs feature engaging videos, quizzes, visualizations and interactive simulations
  • Some programs are also available online
  • Designed for grades 4-8
  • Produced by the Center for Global Environmental Education
  • The three programs in this series are:

Water Down the Drain

The Story of Water Pollution: Six modules introduce a watershed landscape perspective and provide information about the impacts of impervious surfaces and pollution problems as well as solutions common to residential lots.

Urban Water Cycle

Drinking Water - Storm Water - Waster Water:  Takes teachers, students, and citizens into underground aquifers,
up water towers, and squeezing through the maze of pipes that circulate water through three related systems in
urban environments. It’s a journey that leads to new understanding of the importance of using water wisely. Includes
a standards-based classroom activity guide.

Big Foot

Reduce. Reuse, Recycle: A Step-by-Step Guide to Shrinking Your Ecological Footprint 





Algalita Marine Research Education
Ship-2-Shore Education Program

Developed under the guidance of Captain Charlie Moore, who is credited with popularizing the the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Learn about the impact of plastic marine debris in the North Pacific Gyre, 1,000 miles from land.

Resources include:

  • Debris Science Investigation kit
  • Mapping plastic marine pollution lessons for grade 4-12
  • The watershed wonders companion curriculum and many other educational resources.  




Anchorage Museum
Gyre: The Plastic Ocean

What are Ocean Gyres? Learn about the movement of plastic in the ocean.

Lessons include: 

  • Plastics in motion (study about marine debris and documentary)
  • Plastics in society (History of marine debris and making of plastic bags)
  • Effect of marine debris on ecosystems (Ocean garbage patch, marine mammals and birds)
  • Coastal cleanup, Data entry and Exploration (Coastal monitoring curriculum and
    ocean conservancy data sheet)
  • Top of the Ocean Mat (Stellar sea lions & marine debris video, Fur seal entanglement project)
  • Plastic gyre Dangles (Alaska and North Atlantic gyre expedition)
  • Marine Debris masks





Archie Comic for teachers
Getting Drastic with PlasticDouble Digest No. 31, released October 2013.

Copies are available digitally for $3.99 at Comic Vine. Contact Nancy Silberkleit for the teachers' guide, or call
(914) 450-9881. Braille copies of the story are also available.






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
Beach or Schoolyard cleanups 

Learn about ocean cleanup days, the history and how to conduct one.

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. It’s for beaches, rivers, lakes, and other waterways, even schoolyards if you can’t’ get out to a shoreline. Click here for a link to the  educator's guide to conducting a schoolyard cleanup.







California Coastal Commission
Save Our Seas – Grades 4-6

This initiative by California Coastal Commission and Center for Marine Conservation presented by Saving Our Seas encourages students to learn about the complexity of environmental problems through a series of hands-on math and science activities for K-12 students. All curriculum is available for download and print.

  • Wildlife and marine debris
  • What is MARPOL?
  • Getting the message out
  • Record Keeping
  • What happened






California State Science Content 
Waves, Wetlands and Watersheds

Educators guide to address issues such as endangered species, coastal geology, water use, and much more aligned to the California State Science Content Standards for grades 3 through 8, and includes “Community Action” lessons adaptable for all ages up to and beyond 12th grade. Downloadable guide and activities included for California educators in the site.

Lessons Include:

  • Moving Mountains, Shifting sands – Grade 4
  • Water everywhere – Grade 5
  • Powerful forces shape our coast – Grade 6
  • Spanish language supplement available here.

Additional resources include albatross life history, satellite tracking, and impacts of plastic
pollution available here.





Explore Ecology
Environmental education

Provides environmental education to empower youth to protect and preserve the environment. Explore Ecology provides in-class lessons and field trips for public and private schools on the following topics: Waste Reduction, Watershed Resources, Compost and sewage systems.

Activities for grades 4-12

  • Creek Kids Series II: Students participate in hands-on activities to learn about water as a natural resource, where their water comes from and where it goes, the water cycle, groundwater, water pollution and
    how they can protect the water quality where they live. The series consists of two 1-hour in-class lessons,
    scheduled for 3 to 4 consecutive classes a day at a school site.
  • School Gardening Lessons and Consultations: Hands-on lessons and site consultations are tailored to the
    needs of your school and include various aspects of organic gardening. Services are available for schools or
    youth centers wanting to start a new garden or trouble shoot an existing one.





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. Available in Cantonese.

Topics include:

  • People and environment
  • Science and technology in everyday life
  • Micro plastic
  • Plastic in sea
  • Plastic in everyday life
  • Plastic sea garbage in Hong Kong.





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)





Know Feel Act!  Marlisco

“Know Feel Act! To Stop Marine Litter” has been prepared to inform, sensitize and enable European teachers and students to take action to tackle the problem of litter in our seas and coasts. The material has been designed to primarily serve youth aged 10-15 yrs, but can be used also by educators outside the formal schooling system. Teachers can learn how to use Know Feel Act! via e-courses and then communicate through this Facebook page, set up by course members.  






MERITO (Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans) - Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

This project is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s MERITO (Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans) program, a marine conservation outreach effort comprising approximately twenty-five regional groups that participate in ocean and
watershed education programs
serving Hispanic/Latino students, teachers,
adults and families. The goal of this bilingual guide, the marine conservation
kit and the watershed training component is to contribute to the protection of
our watersheds and oceans through education on marine conservation issues.
The guide features classroom and field activities focused on resource management
issues such as water quality, restoration science, and environmental stewardship
that are aligned to district and state science, math, language arts, visual and
performing arts and English language development standards.  In English and Spanish.





Mitigating Microplastics
Teacher lesson plans

Mitigating Microplastics was developed at Oregon State University though the Oregon Sea Grant, which serves the state, region and nation through an integrated program of research, outreach, and education that helps people understand, rationally use and conserve marine and coastal resources.

The curriculum includes three lessons intended to engage 6-8 grade students with the issue of microplastics in the ocean, analyzing both the problem and possible solutions. The lessons are structured to include opportunities for student inquiry, as well as collaboration and engagement with real data collected by scientific researchers working in the field. The entire curriculum is designed to take about one week, but may be extended by including a project at the end of the curriculum. 

Download a PowerPoint presentation here.   






Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Classroom activities 

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.

  •  Grades 5-8 focuses on storm drain pollution prevention, watersheds, and species interdependence.  







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






NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Focus Question: What characteristics of trash affect the likelihood that it will become marine debris?

Lesson at a Glance: Students will perform experiments to examine if debris will float, or blow in the wind. The effects of these characteristics on the marine debris are then discussed.

Key Concepts: Debris that floats or is easily blown around is more likely to become marine debris. The choices we make affect the environment. 






Ocean Crusaders
Education program

Lessons to educate students on issues that the oceans are facing due to plastic pollution.  Includes programs for:





Ocean Research Project
Plastic Pollution is Avoidable  

An 80-minute lesson plan to educate students on how to avoid marine plastic pollution. Focuses on:

  • WHAT is the origin, usage and lifecycle of plastic? 
  • HOW does plastic get out to sea? 
  • IMPACT of plastic in the ocean? 
  • SOLUTIONS: What can we do to keep it out of the marine environment?

A 20-minute activity “plastic in the food web game” is included.






O’Neill Sea Odyssey
Marine plastic curriculum

Comprehensive model program for learning about marine plastic pollution onshore, in class and onboard.  It is designed to work in a three-hour time period based on a rotating, three station educational format; three stations at sea and three stations shore side. Students spend 20 minutes at each of 4 stations:

  • Navigation
  • Marine biology
  • Kelp forests
  • Coral reefs





One More Generation
Plastic Awareness Week

One More Generation (OMG) hosts plastic awareness weeks in schools and educates K-9 students regarding plastic pollution in an innovative way. Their daily activities include:  

  • Day 1: Introducing the concept of plastic pollution by the young founders Olivia & Carter
  • Day 2: Interactive session about the effects of plastic pollution on animals & alternatives to usage of plastic carry bags
  • Day 3: Understanding the different types of plastic and whether they can be recycled or not
  • Day 4: Educating students about the plastic pollution in their schools and encouraging them to think out
    of the box to suggest alternatives to plastic usage
  • Day 5: Creation of a giant art sculpture from all the trash the kids collected in the week. 





Plastic_Free_Curriculum_resized.jpgPlastic Free Curriculum

Grade - 5th Grade - A unit that includes student created posters, website, radio and TV broadcasts, as well as writing a letter to the Editor of their local newspaper. ​

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  









Plastic Free Hawaii
Marine debris sorting and I.D. lesson 

Collecting, sorting, and investigating marine debris is a hands-on, project-based activity allowing students to look at their environment through the lens of a scientist. By analyzing data, students develop an awareness, ask questions, and determine positive solutions for the real life issues associated with marine debris.












Plastic Free Hawaii

Plastic Free Hawaii provides resources, tools, and trainings to educate schools, business partners, and community members about the environmental and health benefits of going plastic free to minimize single-use plastics in islands.

Resources are for teachers, students and families and includes curricula, resource guides, how-to sheets, and program information and applications for reducing single use plastic on campus and at home.






Sailors for the Sea – KELP program
Pollution and Marine Debris

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 o land use in watershed, modern and historic sources of pollution to a body of water, effect of plastic on beaches and beach contamination.  Materials are free but  users much register to download.

For all ages:

  • Biomagnification 
  • Everything Flows Downstream





Save Our Shores – Sea Turtle curriculum
Leatherback Activities Packet and Leatherback Survival Game   

Everything there is to know about pacific leatherback sea turtles. The Save Our Shores initiative fosters a connection between students in California and children in Indonesia.

Downloadable activities include:

  • Introductory Leatherback presentation
  • Card making in Indonesia
  • Leatherback activities packet and survival game.





Tampa Bay Beach Buddies
University of South Florida, College of Marine Science

This program was designed to get citizens in Tampa Bay, Fla. involved in shore clean ups to all can be free to live, work and play safely in their bay area waters and to make a safe living place for marine animals.  Developed by the

Grades 4-12






Tara Expeditions
Educational resources

Educational resources and customized learning based on the Tara Expedition voyages across subject area and by age. Tara is a French non-profit, active since 2003. Their high-level, scientific research voyages focus on three main themes: 

  • Ocean and Mankind
  • Ocean and Biodiversity
  • Ocean and Climate

Tara has completed 10 expeditions to study and understand the impacts of climate change and the ecological crisis on the ocean. The organization works daily to increase environmental awareness among the
general public and young people. Through a special consultative status at the United Nations, Tara Expeditions
also develops long-term advocacy plans to mobilize civil society and encourage politicians to act
concretely on the solutions for the planet.






Wisdom_-_Volvo_Race_Challenge018-03-05_at_12.png Volvo 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.