Marine Debris Interruptions

Have you ever found litter on the beach and wondered what it is and where it came from? In this project, organized by Oregon Sea Grant and supported through funding by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, students focus on one particular item of marine debris and try to learn about the item's story. What was the item originally used for? How does it move through its life cycle of manufacture, transportation, use, and disposal? How did this item end up abandoned or discarded in the marine environment?

Once students know the object's story, they identify solutions that would prevent this particular type of marine debris from ending up on the beach, and share their ideas with decision makers. The goal is to interrupt the processes that lead to this type of marine debris. These three 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) lessons are centered around the anchoring phenomena of yellow rope fragments, plastic shotgun wads, or balloons on the beach.

On the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, you can find additional resources for teaching these unique problem-based lessons, including a field guide for marine debris items of concern and a blank lesson template to create similar lessons for other marine debris objects.