Microplastics and Waterways

Microplastics and Waterways

A Micro-Investigation of a Global Problem

Source: Florida Sea Grant, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Plastic seems to be an unavoidable part of our daily lives, and recycling attempts to address some of the issues this creates. However, it is often what we cannot see that can cause unexpected damage. Investigate the origin of microplastics, where we find them, and alternatives to plastic that could help curb this tide of microscopic fragments.

Guided Review

Each module will include a combination of readings, videos, and online resources to create an immersive virtual experience. This review is also intended to inspire further investigation, so please explore the resources available below as well as the associated Enviornmental Explorations.

Guided Exploration

Each session includes guidelines and materials to explore the featured topic. Our guided explorations are also designed with space for educators to make the sessions their own!  Use the included materials, or draw from the Resource Toolbox section below to tweak the sessions for your specific needs.

 Resource Toolbox

Use these curated resources from a wide variety of organizations to learn more about microplastic pollution. Watch a video or listen in on a webinar. Focus on what kinds of questions the data can answer. Share your lesson plans with us, and we will add them to the collection! Find answers to your questions. Review Relevant Terms...


Articles & Reports

Articles and reports on microplastics sources, pathways, and impacts for use by you and your students.

DIY Resources

Learn how to collect your own microplastics samples without any fancy equipment!

More Lesson Plans

Lesson plans and activities focusing on microplastics from the NOAA, Carleton College, and more.

Online Resources

Helpful websites and community science projects about microplastics from the Plastic Soup Foundation, Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, Pontchartrain Conservancy, and more.

Webinars & Other Courses

Comprehensive webinars from MarineDebris.Info and the Plastic Pollution Coalition covering everything from where microplastics come from to how they might be cleaned up, as well as what information is left to be uncovered.

Various Data

Data about microplastic samples, both within the United States and internationally.

Videos & Podcasts

Includes videos about different types of microplastics, including nurdles, microbeads, microfibers, and more.