How Does Plastic Get Into the Water?

Cover of Plastic Pollution and You: An Interdisciplinary Curriculum to Explore Our Role in Plastic Pollution.

In this activity, students will learn how plastic pollution that is in our communities and on our shorelines can end up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Beginning with a video from NOAA that introduces the concept of marine debris, students will learn how water moves through a watershed and then construct a watershed model to observe how trash, litter, and plastic pollution move throughout a watershed.

“Plastic Pollution and You,” published by New York Sea Grant, is a 15-lesson curriculum focused on marine debris sources, impacts, and solutions. These hands-on lessons and activities help students learn the different types of plastics, their impact on marine and freshwater ecosystems, and about ways to address and prevent plastic pollution. Interdisciplinary elements of this curriculum include policy research, environmental justice, and effective outreach and communication strategies. The curriculum is designed to be appropriate for multiple grade levels, meet New York State and Next Generation Science Standards, and align with several regional environmental action plans. Educators from New York who are interested in getting involved in future revisions to the curriculum can connect with New York Sea Grant through their website.

To learn more about “Plastic Pollution and You,” including an instructional webinar reviewing the units and lessons, visit the New York Sea Grant website.

Lesson Plans
Marine Debris Topics:  
• Types and Sources  
Audience:  
• Grade 3-5  
• Grade 6-8  
• Grade 9-12  
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:  
• ESS3: Earth and Human Activity  
Subject:  
• Earth Science  
Special Categories:  
• Research  
• Class Discussion  
• Multimedia  
• Models  
NOAA Regions:   • Great Lakes  • Mid-Atlantic
Last updated Mon, 05/13/2024 - 02:00 pm EDT