Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#2200. Wildlife and Pollution

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Mar 29 06:23:58 PST 2001 by Shalynn Reinhardt (I am an EMU student.) (
Eastern Michigan University, Yspilant, USA
Materials Required: plastic garbage bags, garbage
Activity Time: 90 min.
Concepts Taught: Cause and Effect


What do I want students to know?
1. Students will draw pictures of healthy and hazardous
marine and freshwater environments.
2. Students will describe the effects of the pollution of plastics on wildlife.
3. Students will notice the large amount of "plastic litter" in their immediate surroundings.

Michigan Standards: II.1.4. Develop an awareness and sensitivity to the natural world.
III.5.2. Explain common patterns of interdependence and interrelationships of living things.

Concepts: Cause and Effect

Pictures of several types of wildlife (water and land)
Markers, crayons, pencils, colored pencils
Garbage bag full of several types of plastic garbage
Chart to show litter found outside, which is dangerous, etc.
Four extra garbage bags (empty)
Book: One less fish

Day 1

(10 Minutes)

I will give students ten to fifteen photographs of several types of wildlife. I will let them work as a group of approximately four to five students. I will tell them to classify the pictures in any way that they can. Then, as a complete group we will look at how the students sorted the
pictures and what pictures lie in each group. I will have each group explain how they chose to classify the pictures. We will also discuss what a good environment would be for these animals and what would be harmful.


(20 minutes)

I will tell students that today we will discussing aquatic wildlife. I will hand over to them, in the two groups that they were in for the previous activity, two garbage bags full of plastic items. I will ask students to take out and examine
all objects. Then, I will have them discuss, in their groups, how these objects relate to aquatic wildlife. After hearing their responses I will instruct students to sort their plastic materials into three groups looking at how animals would
perceive the plastics: Very likely to be considered food,
Somewhat likely to be considered food, Not likely to be considered food.

I will ask the students questions about what they are thinking in regards to the groupings: Why would you think that? Well, what kind of animal would eat that? Do you know what effect it would have on the animal? What causes these plastics to get there?


(15 minutes)

To explain the dangers of wildlife to the students I will read them a story titled, "On the Spot: Oceans." As I go through the story I will ask students questions to make sure they are understanding all of the material and paying attention. The book does not directly address polluting the oceans or other water environments. Therefore, I will be asking students questions that lead them to the answers that I am looking for.
After reading the story I will have students fill in part of their chart that we will complete the next time I am there. I
will have them predict how many of each type of plastic they think they would find on their playground.

Day 2

(30 minutes)

For this part of the lesson I will take the students outside. After they are dressed appropriately I will take them outside. We will start standing in a circle. I will start by reviewing what the students learned the first day. We will talk about the book that we ended with last time. Then I will give students more information about how plastics harm the wildlife. I will tell them:
o Many fishermen lose plastic netting into the ocean. Aquatic wildlife swims into it and have no chance for survival once in the net.
o Leatherback turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish.
o Plastics have been found in the stomachs of whales, dolphins, fish, and birds.
I will put students into groups of two or three. I will tell
them that their mission is to stay on the playground, but to
find items that would be dangerous to aquatic wildlife, concentrating closely on plastics. They will have five minutes.

After five minutes has passed we will move indoors. I will have all students dump out their garbage bags. We will
then sort the items into the same three piles as we had before. If students have any items that are not plastic I will
ask to explain how they think that the items are dangerous to aquatic wildlife.

With the items that we find outside students will fill in a
chart showing how much of each item they found and see if it is higher or lower than their prediction. I will ask them if they were surprised about what they found and how they think it got there.


(15 minutes)

For the remainder of the time I will ask students to do several things. I will give them an 8.5in x 11 in. sheet of paper that has been folded in half. On one half I will ask them to draw a picture of what a healthy environment would be for aquatic wildlife. On the other half they will draw a hazardous environment. Then, on the back I want them to write down one small thing they think that they could do to help save our aquatic wildlife. I also want them to write down what causes the plastic pollution in the water and what is the effect of it.

Source: Project Wild-Aquatic