Small Plastics, Big Problem

Unit 3 of

Students learn about at least two possible impacts of microplastics on the marine environment. They calculate the surface area of rectangular prisms of various sizes and create an argument that the greater surface area of small plastic pieces can potentially accumulate more toxins. Finally, they read about a researcher who encounters microplastics in the guts of the fish she studies. This activity is available for Grades 6-8, 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:  
• Impacts  
• Microplastics  
• Grade 6-8  
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas:  
• LS2: Ecosystems  
• Math  
• Earth Science  
• Life Science  
Special Categories:  
• Class Discussion  
• Multimedia  
• Models  
NOAA Regions:   • Pacific Northwest
Last updated Thu, 05/16/2024 - 12:35 pm EDT