Investigating Ocean Pollution

Water ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Algalita Debris Science Investigation Kit

ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon


GATHER Energy Investigations


graphic organizer summarizing learning process for this activity

EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience

Students can use Algalita’s Ocean Debris Science Investigation Kit (included) to explore gyres and currents, distinguish nurdles from plankton, and determine whether plastic debris sinks or floats. Then, the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s lesson: Plastics in the Water Column will help students figure out which marine life is endangered by plastic at any level.


Formative Assessment: Students should be able to explain how trash in the schoolyard might find its way to the ocean (being swept by runoff water into ditches or storm sewers that lead to rivers that empty into the ocean); and map the watery pathway from school to ocean.


Students can use these infographics to learn more about the topics investigated with the Debris Science Kit. . .


Request a bolus (regurgitated pellet) from US Fish & Wildlife. Let students dissect an albatross bolus, identify the contents, and report their findings to the Midway Atoll citizen science project or have their report verified by a Quality Assurance Officer.



After making sense of a core idea by engaging in science or engineering practices through the lens of crosscutting concepts, students revise their original explanations of a phenomenon.


Students may propose solutions and choose a project, such as conducting a Litterati clean-up, analyzing trash, and reducing use.