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  1. Plastic debris in aquatic and marine environments often breaks up into fragments that are smaller than 5 millimeters, which are then classified as microplastics. While there is not yet a standardized and validated methodology for characterizing microplastics, the protocol developed in this study uses methods for isolating and observing microplastics and for the investigation of how they interact with organisms present in biofilms from urban waterways. Project-based learning (PBL) has been proven to be a successful strategy in K–12 science education; the implementation of PBL provides opportunities for student-driven inquiry and provides teachers with a means to integrate curriculum with current research and to consider the effects of human impacts on the environment. This paper describes the protocol developed for high school teachers to educate students about microplastics and how to successfully isolate and observe them. Teachers and students in Maryland successfully isolated microplastics from biofilm samples from the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland, and shared their results. International teachers and students in Barcelona, Spain, involved in a related project, had similar results and shared experiences through images, video, and online meetings. These collaborations provide important opportunities for student-driven inquiry and for them to engage in methods of current scientific research. 
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  2. Currently threatening the world of medicine is a growing number of antibiotic-resistant diseases. More specifically, bacteria and nematodes have gained resistance to many of the world’s leading antibiotics and nematicides, respectively, making infections more difficult to treat. Subsequently, these parasitic organisms are able to continue damaging crops and other living organisms like humans without strong interference. To help people and the environment, the development of new and novel antibiotics is vital. Previous research suggests that phytochemicals are a potential solution that will not only help inhibit bacterial growth but also reduce nematode survival. We hypothesized that Myrica cerifera, a plant often used by the Lumbee tribe to treat illness, possesses antibacterial and nematicidal properties. To answer our hypothesis, we began by collecting plant specimens to extract material for biological assays and to subsequently isolate and elucidate the structures of active components. The extract was evaluated for antibacterial properties with an agar diffusion assay and then nematicidal properties using Caenorhabditis elegans. M. cerifera extract was added onto an agar lawn at various doses, and the nematodes’ lifespans were scored. The findings of this study show that extracts of this plant, more commonly referred to as ‘wax myrtle’, do significantly decrease the lifespan of C. elegans and increase the zone of inhibition for Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus. In addition, two compounds were isolated and characterized through chemical extraction, chromatographic separation, and spectroscopic analysis. These compounds could potentially be used to treat bacterial and nematode infections.KEYWORDS: Antibacterial; Antimicrobial; Caenorhabditis elegans; Plant extract; Myrica cerifera; Nematicidal; NMR; Phytochemical 
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