K-12 Resources

Are you a teacher who is thinking about incorporating microplastics into their lesson plans? Or an informal educator looking for microplastics activities to do with youth? Start here, then check out the curriculum materials below.

Nearpod module on microplastics for grades 6-8. This free module was created by Angela Greene with Ohio Sea Grant (greene.792@osu.edu)

Mitigating Microplastics (grades 6-8). This curriculum created by Oregon Sea Grant 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. Each lesson includes an estimated length, which will vary by classroom. The entire curriculum is designed to take about one week, but may be extended by including a project at the end of the curriculum.

Marine Debris STEAMSS curriculum. This curriculum was developed by Oregon Sea Grant with a NOAA Marine Debris Program grant. There are lessons for grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

What's in YOUR deodorant? This activity can be used with youth and adults to show the variety of personal care products that can contain microplastics, awell as the need to read ingredient labels on these products. Note that starting in spring 2017, many of the facial scrubs have been modified (probably because of the microbeads-free waters act of 2015) and are available as "new and improved" (without plastic microbeads).

Engineering for Good: Plastic Solutions. Three-week project-based learning module for middle school students focused on developing solutions for negative impacts of plastics on the environment. NGSS-correlated.

NOAA's Marine Debris Program has several educational materials on its website.

The Educator's Guide to Marine Debris: Southeast and Gulf of Mexico has many great marine debris-related activities for teachers

How Can Different Polymers be Identified? Lab activity for 5th to 10th grade.

Washed Ashore Integrated Arts Marine Debris Curriculum. This 12-lesson curriculum connects science and art to help students understand the plastic pollution problem and communicate about it through art.

Do you have access to a boat? Would you like to use a trawl to sample for microplastics? Check out 5Gyres' Trawlshare program!