Students sorting through plastic waste in a parking lot

Project-Based Science

Grades 6–8
Cooper Academy
Fresno, CA

Major Objectives

  • Reduce the number of spork packets used at the school
  • Raise awareness in our community about alternatives to single-use plastic products


Cooper Academy's after-school club, the Eco-Warrior Spork Outs, sold bamboo sporks at Earth Day Fresno. The funds raised there, combined with other local donations, allowed them to give a bamboo spork to each student and staff member at Cooper Academy who wanted one. Data collection showed this conservation action resulted in a 49 percent reduction in single-use plastic sporks at lunch. Based on their interests, teams of students created poems, puppet shows, art pieces, children's books and videos to educate other students and the community about plastic pollution. Other teams of students tackled recycling glue sticks, implementing reuseable k-cups and organizing the school's new Terra Cycle collection.

  • Project Length:
    All year
  • Outreach:
  • Community Partners:
    Fresno River Sports, Tacos Panchos, Tacos La Piedad, Valentino's Mexican Restaurant, Earth Day Fresno, Terra Cycle
  • Related Aquarium Teacher Program:
    Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit

Notes from the Field

"I think that any individual, family or community can make a positive impact by cutting down on using plastic."