International Pellet Watch

Unit 3 of

Plastic pellets (also called “nurdles”) are small pre-production pieces that are shipped around the world to factories that melt them to produce a variety of products. Pellets are often lost during transit, and because they float can be found throughout the ocean and on beaches everywhere. Not only do these pellets contain chemicals that could harm wildlife if ingested, they also attract and accumulate additional toxins from the water bodies in which they float. Explore the International Pellet Watch website to see data of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) from pellets that have been collected from beaches around the world. Students can collect pellets from a local ocean beach and send them to IPW for analysis and inclusion in the research project. This activity is available for Grades 6-8 and 9-12, within the "Impacts" unit. 

Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University created a comprehensive, web-based, Marine Debris Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Social Studies (STEAMSS) Curriculum with support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Marine Debris is a complex, real-world problem which can be addressed through the lenses of several different academic subjects. This curriculum integrates the subject areas of STEAMSS, focusing on experiential hands-on activities for students. The collected teacher-tested resources enable educators to create in-depth, project based learning (PBL) units, work with teaching partners across disciplines, and find classroom and field experiences that will help students explore the issue and impacts of marine debris and engage in stewardship actions. With this curriculum students collect and analyze data, address problems through engineering design, use technology and art to effectively convey stewardship messages, contribute to clean up efforts, and work with community partners. Access the teacher-tested, effective Marine Debris STEAMSS Curriculum here:

Marine Debris Topics:  
• Types and Sources  
• Impacts  
• Microplastics  
• Grade 6-8  
• Grade 9-12  
• Math  
• Earth Science  
• Physical Science  
Special Categories:  
• Citizen Science  
• Working with Data  
• Cleanups & Waste Audits  
• Student Advocacy  
• Research  
• Multimedia  
• Action Project  
NOAA Regions:   • Pacific Northwest
Last updated Thu, 05/16/2024 - 12:36 pm EDT