Grades 9-12 (ages 16-18)

Ship-to-Shore Educational resources

Algalita’s Ship-to-Shore Educational resources are based on research conducted in 2014 by Algalita’s team in the "The North Pacific Gyre" which exposed the serious threat of marine plastic pollution.

Resources include:

  • Debris Science Investigation Kit — a complete curriculum set on the impacts of plastic
    marine debris customized for one 50 min. period.
  • Mapping Plastic Marine Pollution — lessons aligned with California Science Content
    Standards, includes printable activity sheets, uses Google Earth software
  • Watershed Wonders Companion Curriculum — lessons aligned with California Science
    Content Standards, includes printable activity sheets, uses Google Earth software.




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
Lesson plans

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
global issue.




Create Plenty
ECCO curriculum 

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



Ecoliteracy Project


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+. 




Education and the Environment Initiative - E. I. I.

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.

Topics included:

  • People and environment
  • Science and technology in everyday life
  • Microplastic
  • Plastic in sea
  • Plastic in everyday life
  • Plastic sea garbage in Hong Kong





Learning Ocean Science through Ocean Exploration - NOAA

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.





Lonely_Whale_logo_resized.pngThe 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
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.

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:




Ocean Research Project 
Plastic Pollution is Avoidable

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

  • What is the origin, usage and life cycle of plastic
  • How plastic gets out to a sea
  • Impact of plastic in the ocean
  • What we can do to keep it out of marine environment

Also includes a 20-minute activity entitled "Plastic in the food web."





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. 






Plastic_Free_Curriculum_resized.jpgPlastic Free Curriculum

9th Grade - 12th Grade

This unit contains music, poetry, and fun concluding events as it introduces the concept of Plastic Pollution to high school students.

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  

Intro to Plastic Pollution
Intro to Plastic Pollution Attachment 1
Intro to Plastic Pollution Attachment 2
Intro to Plastic Pollution Attachment 3
Intro to Plastic Pollution Attachment 4








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:





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:

  • Biomagnification 
  • Everything Flows Downstream




Tangaroa Blue
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.



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 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.  

Grades 4-12:




Winged Ambassadors – Ocean Literacy through the Eyes of AlbatrossOikonos

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.

Lessons include:

  • Introduction to seabirds
  • Tracking albatross migrations
  • Protecting ocean hotspots
  • Bolus Analysis
  • Campus Debris survey