What are the main sources of pollution in our watershed?

Questions to hold on to​

  • How does trash affect an environment?

Add to your thinking

The Digital Notebook is a space to hold your thoughts, questions, and growing understanding throughout this Unit. You will be able to access it from every Module. Use The Digital Notebook to jot your thinking, take notes, or as a space to develop your writing. You can print and export it anytime, and at the end of module 8 you’ll be reminded to save a copy for yourself.

Read Along with the Video

Roll over to see a synopsis and links to read-along text
An uplifting story about two best friends, Isaac and James, and their discovery of the cause and effect relationship between our cities' storm drains and the world's oceans, lakes and rivers.
Read Full Story

All the Way to the Ocean by Joel Harper

Add your critique of Majectic Plastic Bag

Complete this chart before you start writing your persuasive essay. Use at least three examples per modes of persuasion.

This video shows graphically why plastic waste is detrimental to marine life

Add to your journal

  • What is entanglement?
  • What is ingestion?
  • What causes these issues?
  • Why are they dangerous?

All Lesson Videos


Majestic Plastic Bag

*this module will take approximately 2 hours



The purpose of Module 1 is to build empathy while learning about garbage polluting the Earth’s oceans. 


Engage (10 min)

Trashed classroom

  • Students walk into an intentionally trashed classroom. Teacher guides a discussion about who is responsible for cleaning it up and encourages students to take ownership.
  • Have students try to pick up the trash with no fingers. Students can use their elbows, palms, feet, etc to get the trash into the trash. Students will struggle with throwing the trash away. 
  • Create a connection with being an animal in the ocean and how difficult it would be to remove a piece of trash from your home or off of your body with no hands. 
  • Alternative Activity: Students take a mini field trip to the cafeteria or lunch area immediately following a lunch period to see what trash was left behind by fellow classmates.


Explore (10 min)

Watch the Majestic Plastic Bag video

  • Ask students to discuss in small groups the message of the video
  • ELA Connection: identify the ethos, logos, and pathos in the video using this handout


Explain (30 min)

Gallery walk to build empathy

  • Students will participate in a gallery walk around the classroom, observing images of nature being impacted by trash
  • Virtual Gallery Walk Template
    • Add photos to each slide. Ask students to participate remotely by adding at least one virtual post-it note to each slide. Remind students to put their initials on their post-it. 
    • Review other options and helpful information – click here


Elaborate (5 min)

Watch the Straw in Sea Turtle Nose Video

  • Note:  This video may not be suitable for all 6th grade students. 
  • Ask students to comment on what they see. What emotions are developing as they watch the video?


Evaluate (10 min) 

Journal Activity 

Students will be given time to journal:

  • What is entanglement?
  • What is ingestion?
  • What causes these issues?
  • Why are they dangerous?


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