Pollution in the Earth’s Oceans

703 ELA          Ms. Larkin       klarkin@newdesignmiddle.org

The Problem

The following is taken from our Unit 3 mentor text, Trash Vortex: How Pollution is Choking the World’s Oceans by Danielle Smith-Llera:


“Millions of tons of plastic slip into oceans every year. Some floats and travels slowly with the currents, endangering the health of marine animals. The rest is hardly visible but is far more dangerous. Tiny bits of plastic sprinkle the ocean's surface or mix into the sandy seafloor and beaches. It ends up inside birds, fish, and other animals, harming them-and ultimately humans. Experts struggle with fear and hope as they work to stop the flood of plastic threatening living organisms across the globe.”




Think about all of the items that you use that are made out of plastic.


**end up in oceans



You and your classmates are tasked with two things:

  1. Research the causes of the pollution problem and create a GoogleSlide presentation educating your fellow NDMS students on this issue.
  2. Design a social media campaign promoting awareness on the issue.



  1. You will review the steps of the PPA

Step 1: Define the Problem

Step 2: Gather the Evidence

Step 3: Identify the Causes

Step 4: Evaluate an Existing Policy

Step 5: Develop Solutions

Step 6: Select the Best Solution  (Feasibility vs. Effectiveness)

  1. You will research the pollution crisis using texts, online articles and resources, as well as documentary films.
  2. You will create a PowerPoint that includes the following slides of information:

-       Background information on the problem

-       Causes

-       Effects of the problem

-       Policies put in place

-       Your proposed solutions

  1. You will present your PowerPoint to the class.
  2. Following our presentations, you will design a social media campaign summarizing the content of your PowerPoint presentation and promoting awareness on the issue. Your social media campaign should include:

-       Background information on the problem

-       Effects of the problem

-       Proposed solutions and steps that people can take to solve the problem

-       A catchy hashtag to spread awareness


Student Roles:

-       Note-taker: Record all research notes on a shared google document for the group

-       Social Media Manager: Create login information for Twitter and Instagram accounts

-       Google Slide Artist: Publish the group’s collaborative findings into Google Slides, including the group’s notes and accompanying visuals

-       Time-Keeper: Ensure the group’s pacing allows for the assignment to be completed in a timely fashion; manage the assignment checklist



Trash Vortex: How Plastic Pollution is Choking the World’s Oceans by Danielle Smith-Llera

Seaspiracy documentary, Netflix


























You will be able to use the steps of PPA to research the ocean pollution crisis. In doing so, you will be able to identify the causes of the crisis and policies to resolve the situation. You will be able to propose your own solutions to the problem, as well as design a social media campaign to encourage others to take action.



WHST.6–8.8: Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism.



Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.


Additional Resources

Newsela.com articles and text sets

Guest speaker Dr. Kathleen Fallon, Ph.D who works for Cornell University in marine and coastal conservation