Project-Based Science

Grade 5
Mount Madonna School
Watsonville, CA

Major Objectives

  • Request a local city petition for a ban on single-use plastic bags
  • Write, direct and film a 30-minute educational film for young children about sea turtle conservation
  • Create the "Stow It, Don't Throw It" campaign where students build and distribute personal monofilament line containers and provide an easy way for the local fisher community to collect and recycle fishing line


Students at Mount Madonna School created a multi-disciplinary outreach campaign called "Don't Be A Nurdle, Save the Sea Turtle" in an effort to raise awareness about threats leatherback sea turtles face from plastic pollution. From creating an educational and humorous movie about sea turtle conservation to speaking with local and state representatives, students took an active role in communicating issues threatening oceans. After cleaning up their local beach, students established a local "Stow It, Don't Throw It" campaign to collect monofilament fishing line. The students pledged to change personal habits to benefit the environment.

  • Project Length:
    8 months
  • Outreach:
    Entire student body
  • Community Partners:
    Dr. Simona Bartl of Moss Landing Marine Labs, Indonesian Sea Turtle Camp Instructor Deasy Lontoh, Save Our Shores, Love A Sea Turtle, Dr. Jay Wallace
  • Related Aquarium Teacher Program:
    Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit

Notes from the Field

"We were told that although this project seemed like a daunting task, to 'just get started.' That took away a lot of anxiety!"