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Florida Microplastic Awareness Project: K-12 resources

Are you a teacher who is thinking about incorporating microplastics into their lesson plans? Or an informal educator looking for microplastics activities to do with youth? Start with Microplastics for K-12, then check out the curriculum materials below.

Engineering for Good: Plastic Solutions. Three-week project-based learning module for middle school students focused on developing solutions for negative impacts of plastics on the environment. NGSS-correlated.

How Can Different Polymers be Identified? Lab activity for 5th to 10th grade. Does it Sink or Float? is a slightly simplified version of the polymer ID activity that has been used at elementary STEM fairs.

Making beeswax wraps for food. This activity was created by Hawaii Sea Grant

Marine Debris STEAMSS curriculum. This curriculum was developed by Oregon Sea Grant with a NOAA Marine Debris Program grant. There are lessons for grades 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Mitigating Microplastics (grades 6-8). This curriculum created by Oregon Sea Grant includes three lessons intended to engage 6-8 grade students with the issue of microplastics in the ocean, analyzing both the problem and possible solutions. The lessons are structured to include opportunities for student inquiry, as well as collaboration and engagement with real data collected by scientific researchers working in the field. Each lesson includes an estimated length, which will vary by classroom. The entire curriculum is designed to take about one week, but may be extended by including a project at the end of the curriculum.

Nearpod module on microplastics for grades 6-8. This free module was created by Angela Greene with Ohio Sea Grant (greene.792@osu.edu)

Marine Debris Toolkit for Educators is one of many educational materials available from NOAA's Marine Debris Program 

Plastic Challenge (grades 2-11). This is a series of lessons which are designed to extend students’ knowledge and understanding of plastics and plastic waste on a global scale. The lessons target students in elementary, middle, or high school.

PlasticSeas. In 2018, EarthEcho sponsored an expedition for teachers to investigate the topic of plastic pollution in Australia. A series of lesson plans (most designed for middle school, but one is for high school students) is available for download from the website. Additionally, a 1-hour webinar is available for viewing. Lessons are correlated to Australian education standards and NGSS.

Sampling for Microplastics in Beach Sand (appropriate for upper elementary school-age through adult volunteers).

The Educator's Guide to Marine Debris: Southeast and Gulf of Mexico has many great marine debris-related activities for teachers

Volvo Ocean Race Plastic Pollution Curriculum materials. Suitable for ages 6-12 with presentations, active learning components in teachers guide, worksheets and booklets. Available in 6 different languages.

Washed Ashore Integrated Arts Marine Debris Curriculum. This 12-lesson curriculum connects science and art to help students understand the plastic pollution problem and communicate about it through art.

Do you have access to a boat? Would you like to use a trawl to sample for microplastics? Check out 5Gyres' Trawlshare program!

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Questions? Contact Maia McGuire, UF/IFAS Extension Sea Grant Agent by email or at 386-437-7464 

 

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Methods used for the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project are based on those developed by Abby Barrows, PI of Adventure Scientists' Worldwide Microplastics Project

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