Marine Debris

is a complex, real-world problem which can be addressed through the lenses of several different academic subjects. This curriculum integrates the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Social Studies (STEAMSS), and focuses on experiential hands-on activities for students in grades 4 through 12.

Access the Marine Debris STEAMSS Curriculum by clicking on a grade band.

Grades 4-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

Download a list of all the lessons

The collected teacher-tested resources enable educators to create in-depth, project based learning (PBL) units, work with teaching partners across disciplines, and find classroom and field experiences that will help students explore the issue and impacts of marine debris and engage in stewardship actions.

Lessons include opportunities for students to:

  • address problems through engineering design,
  • use technology and art to effectively convey stewardship messages,
  • contribute to clean up efforts, and
  • work with community partners.

NEW in '22: For more lessons focused on marine debris in Oregon, visit the Marine Debris Interruptions page.

This project, Engaging Students in Marine Debris Efforts Utilizing a Comprehensive, Integrated STEAMSS Curriculum, was funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program and created by Oregon Sea Grant in partnership with Oregon Coast Aquarium and Lincoln County School District. Partners gathered and organized existing and new curricular materials relating to the topic of marine debris, and shared the materials with teachers through a professional development workshop held in February 2014. Following the workshop, teachers implemented activities with their students, and provided feedback on lessons in terms of its effectiveness in meeting standards, ease of implementation and its impacts on student learning, interest and behavior. Modifications were incorporated into the curriculum prior to its publication in July 2015.


In 2016, teachers in the USVI modified this resource to make it locally relevant and useful for their region. Read an article about their October 2016 workshop.