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Activities and Presentations

Save Our Shores offers activities and presentations that are tailored to specific grade levels and are aligned with current classroom subject matter. Our experienced staff is constantly updating our curriculum to maintain relevance and support California teaching standards. All of Save Our Shores’ presentations highlight the history of SOS and the significance of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Please email education(at) for the most recent updates!

*Recommended grade level

Mistaking Plastic for Food and Getting Out of a Bind: These two activities are a fun way to introduce students to the issue of plastic pollution. Through a simulated activity, students are able to consider the effects of plastics in the ocean and on the beaches from an animal’s perspective as they each act out a marine animal that has been hindered in some way by debris. 3rd grade-6th grade

Mt Madonna 1-8-15 Photo 2Perils of Plastic: Through a simulated activity where students are assigned a marine animal, students see firsthand how difficult it is for animals to feed, especially when they are hindered by marine debris. Through three rounds of play, students must collect colored beads, representing their food source and track them on a calorie chart. In the later rounds, some students will be told that they have become entangled in a piece of plastic and therefore must not use their right hand to gather food. This is a fun activity that stresses the detrimental impact of debris on our marine animals. 3rd grade-6th grade

Food Web: This activity is fun to engage upper elementary and middle school students. Each student is given a card with a picture of a marine animal and a description of what types of animals they feed on. As students form a circle, a ball of yarn is introduced. Students are asked to pass it along to an animal in the circle that they feed on. This is an effective way to help students understand the interconnectedness of organisms in the environment. In addition, booby trap cards will be introduced that simulate what happens when plastic pollution enters into the food web. 5th grade-8th grade

Habitat Board: Our habitat board displays various marine habitats such as deep sea, intertidal, tide pool and beach. Velcro animals and items are handed out and students are asked to place their item on the board where they think it lives. We have booby trap cards that are also handed out so that students must decide whether a soda can, plastic bag, or fishing line belongs anywhere on the board. This exercise helps teach students about the different habitats and animals in the Monterey Bay, and also encourages them to think about what does not belong in these habitats. Kindergarten-3rd grade

Mt Madonna 1-8-15Watershed Model: Demonstration based on a presentation using our watershed model to simulate how humans interact with their watersheds. Students are asked to share common examples of human activities on land. Through the model, they can visually see how those activities impact the ocean when it rains. We include a discussion of the water cycle and its relationship to human actions. Kindergarten-12th grade

Trash Timeline Activity: Students are given a variety of everyday items and tasked with understanding the amount of time it will take for each item to break down, should it enter a landfill. By understanding the impact of each item, students can come up with alternatives to reduce waste. 5th grade-8th grade

Leatherback Sea Turtle Survival Game: The Leatherback Sea Turtle became the California State Marine Reptile in 2012. Students pretend to be a Leatherback by following its migration route and understanding the natural and introduced challenges this endangered species faces while coming up with potential solutions. 5th grade-12th grade

The Power of Data: Students are given a set of raw cleanup data and are tasked with processing and analyzing the information. They are then asked to share the story that the data highlights and provide potential solutions to uncovered issues. 7th grade-12th grade

Plastic Pollution Plague: This PowerPoint presentation teaches students about the basics of the plastic debris issue (what it is, where it comes from, and how long it persists in the marine environment); the impact of plastic debris on marine animals and ecosystems; American consumer habits and how they relate to plastic debris; US waste generation and recycling statistics; and how students can contribute to solving the plastic debris plague. 9th grade-12th grade

DSCN0721Field Components

Beach, river or campus cleanups: Students feel like part of the solution to plastic pollution when they participate in a cleanup. Cleanups have the most impact when combined with a prior classroom visit; however, basic concepts can be presented at the beach prior to the cleanup. Cleanups can be scheduled at a beach or river location close to your school or on your campus! Kindergarten-12th grade