It’s Everywhere! Exploring Plastic Pollution

Hi, my name is Tina Niels.  I work for the Montesano School District and teach 4th grade.  This is my first blog entry for the year.  I would like to share a few things about what my students have been doing.

Our school uses the Carolina Kits for Science.  Our first kit was on structures of life. They dissected squids and learned about internal and external structures.  

Since we are learning about structures, I wanted to add the environmental piece.  So I went and got some oysters. We talked about and looked at some videos about plastics in the oceans.  We discussed how the plastics get broken down into micro-plastics.

While dissecting oysters, our goal was to look for plastics.  My students found what they thought were plastics. They found several fiber-like pieces inside the oysters.  They were busy for a long time examining the oysters. Also they took their job seriously. There weren’t any big pieces but my students completely understood the impact of just some micro fibers inside the oysters.  I asked what that would mean if someone ate an oyster with plastic in it. A light bulb went on: “I would be eating plastic! Yuck!”

Along with this, my students were doing The 31 Days of Zero Waste Challenge. Many of the activities and the challenges were about plastics.  This prompted my students to make some signs for the lunch room and school. They came up with a problem. They know they can drink their milk without straws.  So they were going to not take one. Well, their problem is the napkin, and plastic utensils and straw are wrapped in a plastic bag. They really started to zero in on how much plastic is just in the lunchroom.  The class representative has brought up this problem at the ASB meeting. We are hoping to change some things around here.

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