Algalita delivers science-based education to thousands of elementary, middle and high school students across SouthernCalifornia. We teach about the sources and impact of plastic pollution, and empower the next generation to reduce plastic waste in their schools and communities. We also host teacher training workshops and provide free, reusable Plastic Pollution Teaching Kits to educators. Get your kit or sign up for a workshop!
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. Your classroom or youth group can be a part of this monumental event or can conduct a schoolyard cleanup day as a part of the coastal cleanup day.
California Coastal Commission
Save Our Seas – Grades 7-8
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.
Grades 7-8 focus on solid waste and packaging. Lessons include:
- Web of Life
- Too Much Trash
- Marine Debris Survey
- Packaging your product
- Stenciling storm drains
- Recycling in your schools
California Coastal Commission
Waves, Wetlands and Watersheds
Educators guide to address issues such as endangered species, coastal geology, water use, and more. It is aligned with 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 lessons:
- Species in Danger – grade 7
- The Sinking Feeling – grade 8
Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence
Central North Pacific Gyre and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) was formed from a National Science Foundation workshop to build on exemplary ocean sciences education already in place and catalyze and leverage collaborations between ocean sciences researchers and educators.
Physics of Flotsam — Familiarizing students with the physics of plastic accumulation in the Central North Pacific Gyre.
Plastic Journey — A Study of the Central North Pacific Ocean Gyre - The Garbage Patch and watershed management.
Plastic Micro-Debris — Investigating plastic micro-debris in the Central North Pacific Gyre
Garbage — How should scientists study plastic micro-debris in the Central North Pacific Gyre?
Colorado Ocean Coalition
Educators Resource Guide
This guide was developed by the National Geographic Society for teaching ocean themes within real-world context. It provides a solid introduction to the ocean and the ocean literacy principles including specific lessons on plastic pollution.
Plastic in the Pacific — National Science Foundation’s QUEST takes a closer look at how only seven percent of the plastic used in the United States is recycled. Much of the rest ends up in landfills, or worse, oceans. QUEST examines the problem with the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" and challenges students to find solutions to this
A hands-on sustainability experience for high school students near Portland, Ore. with evolving programs. Stay tuned!
- Watch "Choking Hazards" video
- Play Zingo (zero waste bingo)
- Take a quiz about zero waste
The Center for Ecoliteracy promotes ecological education. They encourage schools to teach and model sustainable practices. They lead system change initiatives through publishing original resources, facilitate conferences and
professional development and offer strategic consulting across local, regional, state and national levels. Notable
projects include California Food for California Kids, modeling how system change can provide local farm
fresh food to local schools. They offer books and articles which explain and support their work.
Oakwood Learning activities - downloadable for Grades 6+.
Access all 85 California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) Curriculum units (free, but need to sign up for password. PPC’s password is teacheei). They integrate environmental education into state adopted Science and History-Social Science units. Curriculum includes textbooks for:
- High school: Earth Science
- High school: Biology
- 10th grade: History-Social Sciences
- 11th grade: History-Social Sciences
- 12th grade: Economics
- 12th grade: Principles of American Democracy
Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center
For high school to college students
The Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (OLC) aims to inspire future generations to protect and love our planet’s waters through deeper understanding. Their education programing includes the creation of educational resources for schools, universities, museums and other institutions. OLC Events catering to high school and college students nationwide to empower the next generation of ocean conservationists. Projects include:
- Sea turtle restoration program
- Coral reef restoration program
- Mangroves restoration program
Facing the Future – Buy, Use, Toss
A Closer Look at the Things We Buy
Global sustainability curriculum in science and social studies which encourages students to reflect on the sustainability of a materials economy and their personal consumption choices. This two-week unit provides multiple entry points to help students think critically about consumption, while building math, science, and civil discourse skills. Digital Download. Purchase at $4.99. Students will:
- Analyze the five major steps of the materials economy: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal
- Consider the ecological consequences of consumer-based lifestyles
- Reflect on quality of life: necessity versus luxury
- Calculate the carbon footprint of shipping foreign-manufactured goods across oceans
- Investigate sustainable production and distribution methods
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.
- People and environment
- Science and technology in everyday life
- Plastic in sea
- Plastic in everyday life
- Plastic sea garbage in Hong Kong
This curriculum takes lesson plans that were developed for NOAA Voyages of Discovery and the Ocean Explorer Web Site and presents them in a comprehensive scope and sequence through subject area categories that cut across individual expeditions. Each lesson focuses on an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning and is correlated to the National Science Education Standards.
The curriculum themes progress from physical science through earth science to biological and environmental science, based on 1) the geologic formations that cut across expeditions (seamounts, ridges and banks, canyons and shelves, and mid-ocean spreading ridges), 2) using models to understand structures and functions, and 3) using scientific data in the classroom to model scientific work and thinking. What is unique in this approach is the combination of the Ocean Explorer Web Site with each lesson presented here. Through this approach, teachers and
students have a direct connection to the scientists whose work they are modeling in the classroom and a direct
connection to the exciting new discoveries through NOAA ocean exploration.
The Lonely Whale Foundation
Catch The Wave?
A pilot program in Vancouver and Calgary, Catch The Wave is engaging student leaders to design and implement school-wide projects to reduce single-use plastics in their schools and communities.
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.
Grade 9-12 lessons focus on:
- Conservation activities in Monterey Bay and your own town
- Current research in Monterey Bay
- Sea otters and the kelp forest
- Rockfish in Monterey Bay
National Science Foundation Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE)
Focus on Marine Debris
A three-lesson kit focusing on plastic marine debris. Students can critically examine data and samples and take part in activities that explore the causes, geographical distribution, and biological impacts of marine debris. Lessons are downloadable.
- Lesson 1 resources:
- PowerPoint: Lesson 1 – Trash Talk (19 MB)
- PowerPoint: Lesson 1 – Trash Talk – NARRATED (71 MB)
- Albatross Necropsy – mini documentary (33 MB .wmv)
- Lesson 2 resources:
- PowerPoint: Lesson 2 – Carried Away! (27 MB)
- PowerPoint: Lesson 2 – Carried Away! – NARRATED (40 MB)
- PowerPoint: Lesson 2 – OSCURS Introduction (3 MB)
- Lesson 3 resources:
The Tangaroa Blue Education Kit creates awareness about marine environmental and conservation issues through exploration of: 'What is marine debris?', 'Why is marine debris a problem?' and 'What can we do about it?'. Concepts of consumption, pollution and resolution are investigated with students developing an understanding that there is an interrelationship between the Earth's environment and human activities.
Our Wetlands Our World - California Coastal Commission
The California Coastal Commission, whose mission is to preserve and restore the biodiversity and health of California’s coastal and marine ecosystems, initiated the Marine Education Project in 2002. This project, now its own entity relying entirely on outside funding, operates the Community-Based Restoration and Education Program (CBREP) at Upper Newport Bay, a collaborative effort involving landowners and other stakeholders, including the County of Orange, the Department of Fish and Game, the City of Newport Beach, and the Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends. The primary goal of CBREP is to protect and restore coastal habitats while creating an avenue for community involvement and education. The Our Wetlands, Our World activity guide for high school classrooms is part of the program’s effort to promote wetlands education and restoration through hands-on learning. Our Wetlands, Our World is based on CBREP’s premise that if people develop a personal relationship with an environment, they will be more motivated to protect it.
9th Grade - 12th Grade
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Polynesian Voyage Society
Science at Sea
Sponsored by the Polynesian Voyage Society, a worldwide voyage was undertaken in 2014 using traditional navigational practices focused on the Hawaiian concept of Mālama honua, which means to care for Island Earth. Classrooms participated remotely as two solar powered vessels, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia traveled around the world. They tracked the voyage, read crew blogs, and learned about the history and future of Polynesian voyaging. The Hikianalia was the base for science research projects on:
- Plankton populations
- Water quality
- Marine debris collection and plastic pollution
- Hydroponic food growing,
- Marine mammal acoustics
- Fish DNA and population
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 5 downloadable activities and games regarding biomagnification, effects of landuse in watershed, modern and historic sources of pollution to a body of water, effect of plastic in beaches and beach contamination. Materials are free but users must register to download.
For all ages:
- Everything Flows Downstream
Marine Debris Education Kit
The Tangaroa Blue Education Kit, funded by the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, develops awareness about marine environmental and conservation through exploration of: What is marine debris; why is marine debris a problem, and what can we do about it? Concepts of consumption, pollution and resolution are investigated to help students develop an understanding of the interrelationship between the Earth's environment and human activities.
Easy-to-use for educators, it is aligned with Australia's National Curriculum: Science and cross-curricular priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture, Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia, and sustainability. An inquiry-oriented teaching and learning model gives students opportunities to represent and re-represent their developing understanding, while hands-on experiences provide links to the real world beyond the classroom with real data and analysis becoming part of the Australian Marine Debris Initiative. Students develop stewardship and ultimately become part of the solution for marine debris.
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 a long-term advocacy plans to mobilize civil society and encourage politicians to act concretely on the solutions for the planet.
University of South Florida, College of Marine Science
Tampa Bay Beach Buddies
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.
Ocean literacy through the eyes of an albatross, a threatened species. Examine the digestive system of an albatross to learn about how what they eat can help us analyze ocean pollution. The classroom activity package consists of five lessons comprising activities using inquiry based science instructions, aligned to new standards for grades 5-8 with extensions for grades 9-12.
- Introduction to seabirds
- Tracking albatross migrations
- Protecting ocean hotspots
- Bolus Analysis
- Campus Debris survey