Skip to main content

maker playground

preserve the future | 3rd grade+

Meet Boyan Slat, who founded The Ocean Cleanup at the age of 18. The Ocean Cleanup is an organization dedicated to cleaning up the “uncleanable” Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Inspired by Boyan’s journey, create an invention to solve a significant issue affecting the ecology of the earth.


Did you know that part of the ocean has so much trash that it has a name: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It’s true! Watch this video to learn more.

When Boyan Slat learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as a teenager, he heard ocean experts say it was impossible to clean up. The best way to help the ocean ecosystem is to stop plastic from entering the ocean in the first place.

But Boyan couldn’t stand the idea of leaving all that trash in the ocean, so he fought for a solution, starting when he was just 18 years old! He founded The Ocean Cleanup, an organization that has developed a way to harness the power of the ocean itself to clean up the garbage patch. Learn more about the system they developed here.

Boyan and the team at The Ocean Cleanup had to overcome many early failures, but through perseverance and experimentation, they are now successfully collecting trash. By deploying a fleet of systems, The Ocean Cleanup can now remove 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years.


Boyan didn’t back down from the challenge of what the experts said was an unsolvable problem, and he’s been working on his solution since 2012.

But he can’t do it alone! There are so many issues affecting our oceans, including warming waters, overfishing, pollution, and dying coral reefs. KID Museum invites you to design an innovative solution to help preserve our oceans and the ecosystems within them.

  • Which ocean problem are you most inspired to solve?
  • How can you harness the power of nature to help solve your problem?
  • How will your invention impact the ocean ecosystem around it? It’s important to ensure your idea won’t cause more harm than good.

For more inspiration, check out these ideas:

  • Coral Vita, a company that’s using innovative methods to restore coral reefs.
  • Avani, a company in Bali, Indonesia dedicated to replacing plastic and styrofoam products with biodegradable alternatives.


Create a model of your ocean-saving invention using any tools or materials you’d like. If you’d like to create a digital 3D model, try using TinkerCAD. It’s a free, online modeling program where you can build your creation using 3D shapes. To get started in TinkerCAD, check out these helpful how-to videos:

You can also build a physical model using cardboard, recycled/repurposed materials, clay, or blocks like LEGOs.

However you choose to make your model, be sure to share your work with us by emailing a photo or file of your design to You might see your work on our website or Instagram page!