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NextGen Educational Curriculum 

The 5 Gyres Curriculum follows Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a framework developed by states to improve science education for all students, considered the next generation of STEM/STEAM. The lessons cover a variety of science subjects through the lens of plastic pollution, including: plastic pollution sources and solutions, food chains, body systems, waste management, cause and effect, human impact, identifying plastics, watersheds, the water cycle, understanding currents, and packaging engineering solutions. 

All lessons include either a game or a hands-on activity, as well as problem-solving questions, math and graphing. Each lesson includes four, 50-minute activities; the first three activities are suitable for Middle and High School classes, while the fourth lesson typically involves some prior knowledge and may only be suitable for Advanced Middle or High School students.

In 2016, a unit from our curriculum was selected by Next Generation Science Standards as a "Quality Work in Progress" that "best illustrate[s] the cognitive demands of the NGSS." Soon, our curriculum will pilot on the Catch the Wave platform as a free download so that educators and students can help us better hone our lessons as we scale them for elementary schools, as well. This project is generously supported by our cause partner COSTA

Mi Mar/My Sea

Mi Mar/My Sea piloted in Fall 2017 with a select group of Title 1 high schools, with the goal of engaging diverse groups of underserved high school students in one-day research expeditions. Students learned about plastic pollution through hands-on citizen science aboard a boat off the coast of Los Angeles, generously donated by cause partner Newport Whales. Using a 5 Gyres signature trawl, they collected samples and analyzed the findings, while learning about the history, impacts, and solutions to plastic pollution, including actions to reduce plastic pollution in their communities. Challenged to launch their own plastic pollution reduction projects either in the classroom or in their community, this diverse group of next generation leaders is continuing the fight for a planet free of plastic pollution. Thanks to Newport Whales and their amazing whale watching and marine conservation programs for making this program possible!

Thank you to our Mi Mar sponsors Newport Landing Whale WatchingCalifornia State Coastal ConservancyCaptain Planet FoundationWest Marine's BlueFutureNordic NaturalsKlean Kanteen, and Costa Sunglasses!

Educational Presentations 

The 5 Gyres team has covered more than 50,000 miles across the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and South Atlantic Gyres, as well as the Great Lakes, to study plastic pollution. Through our educational presentations, we bring the expedition experience to students and parents, teaching conservation through action and engaging school communities to think about how to protect our oceans by making smarter choices on land. These presentations and workshops take place in auditoriums, classrooms, and on field trips, and can be tailored to an elementary, middle, high school or college level; they are also appropriate for parent groups. In the greater Los Angeles area, Title 1 schools may apply to participate at no cost through our scholarship program, which is generously supported by Nordic Naturals, a 5 Gyres cause partner.

My Life, My Land, My Sea (2016) 

My Life, My Land, My Sea was a environmental leadership program created in partnership with the United States Forest Service and California State University, Chico. My Life engaged a diverse population of university students using the watershed approach to conservation education through a combination of hands on, science based fieldwork and classroom instruction on the history, science, policy, advocacy, and solutions to plastic pollution. The primary goal of the program was to build a more integrated, diverse community of next generation leaders equipped with the tools to drive local, sustainable solutions to plastic pollution; another was to illustrate the irrefutable connection between the health of our oceans, lands, and human life. My Life provided engaging programs and perspectives that help to coalesce these core concepts into a comprehensible format that inspired positive changes through education, activism, public service and leadership development.

Every Kid in a Park (2016)  

President Obama's Every Kid in a Park Initiative was developed to introduce 4th graders across the nation to public lands in an effort to build the next generation of outdoor stewards. Children who participated in the program received park passes, which provide free access to all federal lands and waters during the school year. As part of the Every Kid in a Park Initiative, 5 Gyres worked with the United States Forest Service to educate 2,000 4th graders in Los Angeles and Hawaii on the plastic pollution issue and how it affects our public lands.

Bahamas Youth Summit (2015)

5 Gyres, The Island School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Jack Johnson and All at Once partnered together to bring 75 local Bahamian, American, and international students to the Cape Eleuthera Institute for a 3-Day Youth Action Island Summit in the Summer of 2015. Students participated in lectures, workshops and a larger scale beach cleanup, all focused on generating solutions to plastic pollution for island nations.  

GyreSailors (2015)

GyreSailors was launched in 2015 as a pilot project to build a stronger relationship with the sailing community. The project focused on developing an environmental program for sailing students with the Treasure Island Sailing Center, integrating the programming into the Center's existing Sailing Summer Camp Programs. 5 Gyres lead students in citizen science and educational efforts during two Summer Camp Programs, reaching over 50 students directly and close to 600 people (parents, staff and the local community) indirectly. Carrying out our citizen science protocols to analyze microplastics on a nearby sandy beach with the students, all under 10-years old, was our biggest success. The students were very engaged and learned simple solutions, and were asked to analyze their bathrooms for microbeads. 


Thank you to our program sponsors!