Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



VA SEA 2019 Lesson Plans


This activity challenges students to help researchers understand what types of plastics are polluting the oceans!

Teachers will prepare samples of microplastics that were collected in each of the 5 ocean gyres, mimicking plastic concentrations actually found in the oceans! Working as a group, students will count the items of plastic and graph their results. They will share their results with the class to compare their gyre to the other four gyres. Finally, students will understand the link between ocean microplastic pollution, and our use of single-use plastics.

This activity can be completed in 45 minutes in the class. An additional challenge activity is included, that can be used as a 30-45 minute in-class activity or homework assignment.



Secondary Education, Lesson Plans, plastic pollution

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Publication Statement

This lesson was developed in alignment with the 2010 Virginia Department of Education’s Science Standards of Learning.



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