Microplastics in the Marine Environment (student curriculum)
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Microplastics in the Marine Environment (student curriculum)

  • 2020

Filetype[PDF-482.19 KB]


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  • Description:
    In this activity, students will identify the six basic types of plastics (based upon the designated recycling codes printed on them) and learn about how their various densities cause them to either sink or float in the oceans. Students will learn how long it takes to completely degrade various types of plastics, and how they break down into various sizes of plastics and microplastics in the ocean. Using a simple ultraviolet light technique, students will examine samples of sand/sediment and water to discover whether there are microplastics in the samples. Activities illustrating various aspects of plastics are designed for grades 2-12, and may be done either as a class or by dividing students into small teams to enable all team members to fully participate in the hands-on activities. Fo​llowing completion of this lesson, students will be able to understand what plastics are; identify different types of plastics and their common usages; discover how long it takes plastics to degrade completely; learn how plastics degrade into microplastics that impact marine life and detect them in sediment; see how due to different polymer densities, some plastics float and some will sink; and recognize the ubiquitous nature of microplastics in our environment.
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    Public Domain
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