A single-use water bottle washed up on the beach

Project-Based Science

Grade 8
J. Douglas Adams Middle School
Brentwood, CA

Major Objectives

  • Decrease the use of single-use water bottles on campus
  • Educate students about alternatives to single-use plastic


Over four hundred 8th graders at J. Douglas Adams Middle School used the Litterati app to collect data about litter on and near campus. After one week of data collection (and over 5,000 pieces of trash cleaned up) students discovered that single-use water bottles were the primary problem at their school. The entire campus was asked to dispose of their single-use water bottles in a common collection area for one week to illustrate the volume of bottles used and discarded. By displaying the 1,030 bottles collected in this one week, the students were able to successfully petition the school district to install water bottle refill stations. The district responded by installing two of them! The club also decided to sell insulated, stainless steel water bottles, which resulted in a 53 percent reduction of the number of single-use bottles discarded in the next round of single-use bottle collection. Going forward, 8th graders will be assigned a 6th grade buddy on campus. On special days, if both students have their reusable water bottle at school, each buddy will be awarded a special drink or another sticker as incentive to continue to use the reusable bottles at school.

Notes from the Field

"I like that we are spreading knowledge about plastic pollution and taking steps to reduce the use of single-use plastic."