INTERRUPTION: Students Seeking Solutions

Students focus on one marine debris object commonly found on Oregon beaches, research its original purpose, user, and life cycle, and then propose targeted solutions to prevent this particular item from becoming marine debris.

What's the Story?

Have you ever found litter on the beach and wondered what it is and where it came from? In this project, students focus on one particular item of marine debris that is found on Oregon beaches 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.

How it works

Educators, there are many ways you can participate in this project:

  1. Implement an existing Marine Debris Interruptions Unit that focuses on a particular marine debris item.

    See Lessons Below
     

  2. Select an item to investigate from the Field Guide and use the provided resources below to help you get started.

    See Field Guide
     

  3. Pick your own marine debris item to investigate using the Interruptions Template.

    Follow Template

 


Marine Debris Interruptions Units

Components in Full Lessons

Yellow Rope on the Beach

Where are yellow rope strands coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Download Lesson PDF

The resources below support this lesson. Download the Lesson PDF to learn more.

General Background Information

ENGAGE

The Hook

EXPLORE

Beach Data

Polypropylene Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)
  • Polypropylene Articles (pdf)
  • Video: How to Make Rope from How It's Made

Polypropylene Impacts on Marine Environments

  • Microfibers from Beachapedia
  • Potential Impacts of Yellow Rope Marine Debris (pdf)

Explain

Making Connections to Oyster Farming

Elaborate

Exploring Possible Solutions

EVALUATE

Case Studies

 

Some documents in this lesson are from a third party and may not be fully ADA accessible. If you encounter barriers to accessing a document please let us know.

Plastic Wads on the Beach

Where are plastic wads coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Download Lesson PDF

The resources below support this lesson. Download the Lesson PDF to learn more.


General Background Information

ENGAGE

The Hook

Beach Data

EXPLORE

Polyethylene Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)

Impacts on Marine Environments

Explain

Making Connections to Shotgun Use

Elaborate

Addressing Shotgun Wad Debris in Greater Fallerones National Marine Sanctuary

New Zealand Students Solve a Mystery

Biodegradable Shotgun Wads

Questions for Industry

  • Student worksheet #4 (pdf)(doc)

Evaluate

Potential Community Partners

 

Some documents in this lesson are from a third party and may not be fully ADA accessible. If you encounter barriers to accessing a document please let us know.

Balloons on the Beach

Where are balloons coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Download Lesson PDF

The resources below support this lesson. Download the Lesson PDF to learn more.


General Background Information

ENGAGE

The Hook

Beach Data

EXPLORE

Biodegradable Latex Balloons?

Plastic Life Cycle

Adding to the Story

  • Student worksheet #2 (pdf)(doc)

Impacts of Balloon Debris

EXPLAIN

Balloons in Use

  • Student Worksheet #3 (pdf)(doc)

Balloons Releases

Balloon Industry Updates

Local Industry Connections

  • Student Worksheet #4 (pdf)(doc)

ELABORATE

Exploring Alternatives

EVALUATE

 

 

Some documents in this lesson are from a third party and may not be fully ADA accessible. If you encounter barriers to accessing a document please let us know.

Use the Interruptions Template and the resources below to create your own lessons around other items.

Resources to Support Study of Other Items

Plastic Bands on the Beach

Where are plastic bands coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Use the resources below and the Lesson Template to create your own lesson. 

General Background Information

Engage

The Hook

EXPLORE

Beach Data

  • Datasets that include plastic bands found in the Pacific NW
    • Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
      • beginner (xls)
      • advanced (xls)

Plastic Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)

Adding to the Story

  • Student worksheet #2 (pdf)(doc)

Impacts of Plastic Bands

EXPLAIN

Industry Perspectives

Research Perspectives

ELABORATE

Substitutions

Policy Approaches

EVALUATE

Solutions

  • Students propose solutions to decision-makers
  • Local industry adopts one or more suggestions

Sand Toys on the Beach

Where are sand toys coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Use the resources below and the Lesson Template to create your own lesson. 

General Background Information

Engage

The Hook

  • Sand Toys of the Central Oregon Coast (pdf)

EXPLORE

Beach Data

Plastic Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)

Adding to the Story

  • Student worksheet #2 (pdf)(doc)

Impacts of Plastic Sand Toys

EXPLAIN

Tourism Industry Connection

Costs and Benefits

  • Compare costs and benefits of cheap plastic toys vs sturdy eco-friendly toys
  • Survey/observe toy users to find out how and why toys are left behind

ELABORATE

Possible Solutions

  • Establish unwanted toy collection site near beach
  • Encourage stores only sell sturdy, eco-friendly sand toys that will be less like to be left behind
  • Hotels may start a sturdy sand toy lending system for their guests
  • Investigate biodegradable toys; price points, bulk purchases, marketing ideas
  • Invent a sand toy recovery system
  • Educate the public about the importance of not leaving toys behind

EVALUATE

Solutions

  • Students propose solutions to decision-makers
  • Industry adopts one or more suggestions

Plastic Funnel on the Beach

Where are plastic funnels coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment? 

Use the resources below and the Lesson Template to create your own lesson. 

General Background Information

Engage

The Hook

EXPLORE

Beach Data

Plastic Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)

Impacts on Marine Environments

Adding to the Story

  • Student worksheet #2 (pdf)(doc)

EXPLAIN

Hagfish Fishery Connections

Learning about hagfish gear

  • Invite fishery managers familiar with the hagfish fishery: ODFW, The Nature Conservancy
  • Invite or take a field trip to learn from commercial hagfish fishers to learn about the fishery and its gear
  • Explore mechanisms that lead to gear loss

ELABORATE

Current Projects

  • North Pacific Hagfish Trap Project - Citizen science project in Hawaii. Note: There is no hagfish fishery in Hawaii, but a lot of hagfish trap debris ends up on Hawaii's beaches.

Possible Solutions

  • Develop alternatives to easily-broken plastic gear
  • Propose changes to policy/regulations
  • Add strategies to accurately identify the origin of derelict hagfish traps (ID by state/county)

EVALUATE

Solutions

  • Students propose solutions to decision-makers
  • Industry adopts one or more suggestions

Gray Tube on the Beach

Where are tubes coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Use the resources below and the Lesson Template to create your own lesson. 

General Background Information

Engage

The Hook

  • What is this? Found on a central Oregon beach (jpg) and at Midway Atoll (jpg)

EXPLORE

Beach Data

Plastic Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)
  • Note: The tubes are generally made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE)

Adding to the Story

  • Student worksheet #2 (pdf)(doc)

EXPLAIN

Shellfish Aquaculture Connections

ELABORATE

Industry Solutions

Possible Solutions

  • Substitute biodegradable spacers for plastic (bamboo? biodegradable plastic?)
  • Improve barriers in outflow areas to prevent spacer escape
  • Propose other types of aquaculture methods

EVALUATE

Solutions

  • Students propose solutions to decision-makers
  • Industry adopts one or more suggestions

Water Bottles on the Beach

Where are water bottles coming from, and how can we prevent their escape into the environment?

Use the resources below and the Lesson Template to create your own lesson. Plastic bottle marine debris is so prevalent it might make sense to focus on a specific, easily-identified subset or type of plastic single use water bottle.

General Background Information

Engage

The Hook

  • What is this? Found on a central Oregon beach (jpg)
  • International Coastal Cleanup Report (2020)

EXPLORE

Beach Data

Plastic Life Cycle

  • Plastics and the Plastic Life Cycle (pdf)

Adding to the Story

  • Student worksheet #2 (pdf)(doc)

EXPLAIN

The Story of Bottled Water

ELABORATE

Refuse Single Use Water Bottles

Substitutions

Improve Recycling Rates

EVALUATE

Solutions

 

Share Your Feedback 

 

Removing marine debris is important. But during beach clean ups, we often ask ourselves if it would be even better if we could prevent items from becoming marine debris in the first place.

The Marine Debris Interruptions project is supported by funding from the NOAA National Sea Grant Office, the NOAA Marine Debris Program, and Oregon Sea Grant.