Spotlight

Explore some of our most popular marine debris resources for educators.

Trash Shouldn’t Splash Toolkit

Cover of the Trash Shouldn’t Splash Toolkit.

This toolkit, created by Falmouth Water Stewards/Skip the Straw and Sea Education Association (SEA) with funding provided by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, provides strategies, best practices, and examples of successful, student-driven campaigns to reduce single-use plastics in communities. The materials in this toolkit include educational information about marine debris types, sources, and prevention; suggestions for creating logos and other communication materials; tips and scripts for interacting with restaurants; and templates for letters to community members and organizations to promote student efforts. 

These resources were inspired by a 2015 “Skip the Straw” campaign in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Five middle school students, in partnership with Falmouth Water Stewards, developed and used communication tools that reached various audiences for the campaign, such as surveys and scorecards for restaurant owners and managers. This campaign, paired with ocean research conducted by undergraduate students studying with SEA Semester, created the Trash Shouldn’t Splash partnership. Ten restaurants in Woods Hole posted signage supporting the “Trash Shouldn't Splash” single-use plastic reduction message, some of which are featured in the toolkit. Additional resources and example materials are available on the Trash Shouldn’t Splash website

Education Resource?: 
Education Image: 
Trash Shouldn't Splash logo.
Teaser Text: 
This toolkit provides strategies, best practices, and examples of successful, student-driven campaigns to reduce single-use plastics.

Marine Debris Prevention Best Practices Manual

Cover of the One Cool Earth Marine Debris Prevention Manual.

Created by One Cool Earth with funding provided by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, this Marine Debris Prevention Best Practices Manual is a comprehensive guide to help establish lasting change on school campuses. It covers tips and tricks for engaging students in assessing school waste, bringing student leaders together into “Green Teams,” and supporting the entire school community with marine debris prevention. Learn creative ways to minimize waste in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in school gardens, and on the playground. These strategies are accompanied by case studies, standards-aligned lesson plans, videos, and other resources. 

You can learn more about this project, as well as find additional lesson plans and other resources for formal and informal educators on One Cool Earth’s Educator Resources page.

Education Resource?: 
Education Image: 
Cover of the Marine Debris Prevention Best Practices Manual.
Teaser Text: 
This Marine Debris Prevention Best Practices Manual is a comprehensive guide to help establish lasting change on school campuses.

Marine Debris Interruptions

First page of the Marine Debris Interruptions: Yellow Rope on the Beach lesson.

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.

Education Resource?: 
Education Image: 
A bag of yellow rope pieces.
Teaser Text: 
Students explore debris types of concern and identify ways to interrupt their escape into the environment with these lessons from Oregon Sea Grant.

Prince George’s County Clean and Beautiful Activity Books

Cover of Prince George’s County Clean and Beautiful activity book.

These colorful, engaging activity books were created by Prince George’s County, Maryland, with funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Follow along as Spencer the Sprout learns about how litter becomes marine debris and ways to make a difference in your community. Each book features content and activities ideal for a different age group, from kindergarten through high school. 

  • Volume 1: Kindergarten-Grade 2 - Meet Spencer and learn about how litter impacts our favorite places and how we can make a difference.
  • Volume 2: Grades 3-5 - Support Spencer on a mission to learn all about watersheds, how litter can get from our streets into the ocean, and how we can prevent it.  
  • Volume 3: Grades 6-8 - Explore with Spencer the many impacts of debris, everyday activities that can lead to it, and ways that individuals and communities can commit to taking care of the environment.
  • Volume 4: Grades 9-12 - Spencer is trapped! Kim, Renaldo, and Shawn are Prince George’s County’s only hope to save the environment from marine debris and free Spencer.

Dive into the world of Spencer the Sprout and learn more about the work of Prince George’s County at the Spencer the Sprout website.

Education Image: 
Cover of Prince George’s County Clean and Beautiful activity book.
Teaser Text: 
Kids of all ages can learn about marine debris with these colorful, character-focused activity books from Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Subscribe to RSS - Spotlight