Plastic in the oceans


2-10 lessons

Learning objectives:

The aim of the teaching module is to familiarize students with the overall topic (plastics in the oceans) and its impacts on marine mammals. 

Description of the learning objectives and activities:

There are several different learning activities. Most are suitable for the classroom as standard lesson (lessons 4-9), others for projects as EOC activities (lessons 1-3). Experiments can be applied individually or in a modified order depending on thematic focus and available time. All learning materials are appropriate for different age groups (10-18).

EOC activities:
1. Plastic river sampling
Research questions: A. Observing larger floating items: How many large items of waste float along the river towards the sea? What is more common – natural floating items such as leaves and twigs or floating items of waste?
B. Searching for microplastics by casting a microplastics net: How many microplastic particles float along the river towards the sea?

2. Rubbish on the riverbank
Research question: How much waste can be found on the riverbank and what material is the waste made of?

3. Microplastics beach sediment sampling
Research question: How much microplastic can be found on sandy beaches?

Classroom lessons and activities:
4. Searching for microplastic in everyday products
5. How long does it take for plastic bags or fishing lines to biodegrade?
6. Waste at home
7. Floating plastic
8. Mystery Game
9. What can I do?

Find detailed learning activities and methods here:

Other remarks:

Marine Mammals was an EU-funded project to further increase young people’s interest in natural science and to prevent shortage of specialists in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The project has developed a series of learning materials for 10-18 years old students. The material consists of the following topics:
A. Introduction to Marine mammals
B. Plastics in the oceans
C. Chemical pollution
D. Acoustics
E. Interactions with fisheries
F. 3-D animal models
G. Underwater observatory