New Lesson Plans about Plastic Pollution and Sediment’s Role in Local Waters

Plymouth National Aquarium, 5 Gyres Institute and Sailors for the Sea Help Young Sailors Learn about Prevalence and Sources of Plastic Pollution in the Ocean, and the Role Sediment Plays in Local Waters

Two new lesson plans added to Sailors for the Sea Rainy Day Kits Library – marine science education tools that require minimal resources to grow appreciation of ocean conservation.

Newport, Rhode Island – August 30, 2013 – Sailors for the Sea, the only ocean conservation nonprofit focused on the sailing and boating community, continues to grow its Sailors for the Sea Rainy Day Kits for Environmental Education with the addition of two more lesson plans.

For more than two years, Sailors for the Sea has worked with leaders in the fields of marine and environmental science and education to create and contribute the lessons and labs that make up the first-of-its-kind library of marine science-based lesson plans. The complete library includes a variety of activities from debates and interactive storytelling to hands-on activities and experiments for children aged five to 14. The Rainy Day kits are free and available online at http://www.sailorsforthesea.org/programs/rainy-day-kits/register-download. Recently added kits are:

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Sediment – students create a simple scientific instrument and learn about the role of sediment in their local waters. Created in collaboration with the Plymouth National Aquarium
  • Plastic Beach – students carry out a beach transect, learning about the prevalence and sources of plastic pollution in the oceans. Contributed by the 5 Gyres Institute.

The 30-45 minute modules provide community sailing centers, yacht clubs, and waterfront facilities with practical educational tools for teaching the principles of environmental sustainability to young sailors. Sailing instructors need no formal training or education in ecology or biology to incorporate the flexible lesson plans and their relevant content about marine ecology into their sailing instructions. The goal is to share the practical tools and tips needed to make a positive impact to natural resource depletion and habitat degradation. Additional lessons by age include:

Junior Sailors of the Sea (all ages)

  • The Deadliest Catch, contributed by The Pew Environment Group. Students model the effects of more advanced technology on the population sizes of fish.
  • Beach Bucket Scavenger Hunt, contributed by Birch Aquarium/The Scripps Institute of Oceanography. A fun scavenger hunt that gives students an understanding of what can be found on beaches, an introduction to beach ecology, and the role of manmade objects.
  • Hooked on Conservation, contributed by The Pew Environment Group. A creative game that shows the effects of longline fishing on the health of the ocean ecosystem.
  • All that Glitters, contributed by University of Miami's R. J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program. An activity that plays with light at different depths of the oceans and discusses adaptations organisms have made for different light conditions.
  • Sustainable Matching Game, contributed by Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch. A simple matching game for visually identifying fish and gaining an understanding of which can be sustainably harvested.
  • Oyster Tag, contributed by Sailors for the Sea. A game of freeze tag that gives an understanding of the interaction of oyster reefs and toxic waste (pollution) in the water.
  • Bio-Magnification Game, contributed by The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean. A tag inspired game that demonstrates how plastics and the chemicals in plastics are bio-magnified to reach our dinner plates.
  • Everything Flows Downstream, contributed by New England Aquarium. Students illustrate the effects of the land use in a watershed by simulating development of their own riverfront property.

Savvy Sailors (ages 9+)

  • Estuaries, Densities and Eutrophication, contributed by Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Students create mini-ocean environments and introduce nutrients to see what happens in the estuaries where fresh and salt water meet.
  • Dirty Water Challenge, contributed by New England Aquarium. Students learn about the water cycle and the principles of filtering water by designing and building their own filters, then testing them with "dirty water."
  • Ocean Resources, contributed by University of Miami's R. J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program. Students participate in a mock debate that highlights many of the groups that who use the ocean's natural resources and introduces the principles of the Law of the Sea.
  • A Story of Sand, contributed by Birch Aquarium/The Scripps Institute of Oceanography. A hands on activity that illustrates the different sources of sand including biological, geological and man-made.
  • What's Hiding in the Water?, contributed by WaterFront Center. Students learn about the variation of size in marine organisms in the local marine environment, while building dip and plankton nets.
  • Plastic Beach, contributed by 5 Gyres Institute. Students carry out a beach transect, learning about the prevalence and sources of plastic pollution in the oceans. 

Advanced Sailors (ages 12+)

  • Clam Jigsaw, contributed by, Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. Students create a cutout model of a clam to investigate the anatomy and physiology of these animals.
  • Density Currents, contributed by, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. This activity demonstrates Thermohaline Circulation throughout the world's oceans and the relative densities of cold and warm waters.
  • Who Dirtied the Water?, contributed by, New England Aquarium. This activity uses an interactive narrative to illustrate the different sources of pollution, historic and modern, to a body of water.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Sediment, contributed by Plymouth National Aquarium. Students create a simple scientific instrument and learn about the role of sediment in their local waters.

About Sailors for the Sea
Founded in 2004, Sailors for the Sea is a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers the boating community to protect and restore our oceans and local waters. For more information on or to participate in any of the Sailors for the Sea programs, or to support the organization, visit www.sailorsforthesea.org.