August Educator Newsletter

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NOAA Marine Debris Program 

Educator Newsletter

Girl holding up recovered fishing line.
Looking for a way to make your students ocean heroes? If you can't get to a cleanup, check out the activities below.. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

August 2018

Welcome to the NOAA Marine Debris Program's quarterly Educator Newsletter!

Let us know what you think!

We are always happy to receive feedback on our marine debris resources so that we can ensure we produce useful content for educators. Feel free to reach out to let us know what you think! 

What’s working for you? What new resources would you like to see? 

Let us know by emailing:


2019 calendar cover.

2019 Calendars Available

The NOAA Marine Debris Program's 2019 Marine Debris Calendar is now available for download.  Limited hard copies are also available, email if interested.

This calendar features the winners of last year's art contest and serves as a reminder to be the solution to marine debris everyday!

kid marine debris art.

Annual Art Contest

The NOAA Marine Debris Program's annual art contest is almost here!

This year's contest will be open to K-8 students from October 15th through November 30th. Winners will be featured in our 2020 calendar. Keep your eye on our website for more information as it gets closer. 

What is Marine Debris poster.

Check out some of our many other marine debris resources, including posters, activities, videos, and curricula.

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Featured Resource

Students watching an activity in the classroom.
Students enjoy learning about marine debris in a way that engages them on many different levels. Photo Credit: NOAA

Marine Debris STEAMSS Curriculum

Marine debris is an issue that is perfect for integrating many different subjects.  Afterall, to really solve this problem, we need to do research (science and math), come up with ways to get the debris out of the ocean (engineering and technology), and engage the public to prevent more debris from entering the ocean (social studies and art).  That is why Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University created their Marine Debris Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Social Studies (STEAMSS) Curriculum with funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

If you are looking for cross-disiplinary, teacher-tested, hands-on activities for your class, check out the Marine Debris STEAMSS Curriculum.  They have lesson plans and activities available for 4th-12th grade classes.

Featured Activity

Beach box.
You can bring the debris to your classroom instead of bringing your classroom to the debris. (Photo Credit: Oregon Sea Grant)

Beach Boxes

Is a field trip to the beach not feasible for your class? Bring the beach to them with beach boxes.  To make beach boxes, fill shoebox size plastic containers with beach sand and a variety of natural and human-made materials that could be (or were actually) found on a beach. Make enough beach boxes so that each small table group of students can thoroughly explore a box representing a sample from the beach. Use the boxes year after year.

Learn more about this activity from Oregon Sea Grant and other cool activities in the Marine Debris STEAMSS Curriculum.

Marine Debris Craft Corner

This simple activity is fun and reduces waste! (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Upcycled Pencil Holder

Keep yourself organized this new school year and throw away less with this fun project! We used an empty pasta sauce jar and some leftover yarn, but you can challenge your students to be creative in what types of materials they use.  So much of what we throw away can have a new life.


Step 1: Gather your materials: an empty jar or can, yarn, and a hot glue gun.

Step 2: Put a small dab of hot glue on the bottom of your container and attach the end of your yarn.

Step 3: Carefully start wrapping your yarn around the container, using hot glue as needed to keep the yarn in place..

Step 4: Let the glue cool and fill your new container with your favorite pens and pencils!