This program, supporting Next Generation Scientific and Engineering Practices, explores plastics in the marine environment and encourages ways to reduce plastic pollution. Students watch a short video called “Investigating Plastic Pollution: The Basics” and then rotate through 3 stations:
- Sink or Float – explores plastic density and where plastics end up once they enter the marine environment;
- Plastic Soup – demonstrates how plastics impact marine life by observing water samples from the North Pacific “garbage patch” and by dissecting Albatross boli collected from the Hawaiian Islands; and
- Fishing for Microplastics – showcases sources of microplastics in personal care products.
Teachers may also request Beach Sweeper Field Notebooks and supplies to conduct their own campus cleanup. Students map and label their site, ask investigative questions, collect data, and reflect on findings. Students enter data into a master spreadsheet, compare results to global marine debris data, and create an action plan. The Beach Sweepers Curriculum and Field Investigation Notebook are downloadable on PSI’s website and available as a loanable kit.
50-60 minutes in classroom, 50-60 minutes in the field
Designed for grades 4-12.