CLAYPOOL — Clean water is necessary for all forms of life on Earth. This universal truth is known by nearly everyone, including 40 third graders at Claypool Elementary. A less known fact however is the large impact human activity in Kosciusko County can have on the quality of water elsewhere as well.
Recently, Tiffany Cooksey’s and Kathy Ray’s third grade students at Claypool Elementary had the opportunity to do hands-on activities with Sarah Baier of Kosciusko County Recycling. The main focus on the following two programs included Who Polluted the River? and Oil Spill.
Baier started off the programs helping the third graders understand how local waterways are interconnected. This helped the classes see how things done locally also affect many others who are not even close to where they live.
The students were given the chance to think about ways to prevent water pollution, which they realized turned out to be a lot easier than their task of finding solutions to help clean-up after contamination.
In one activity, Baier read a story to the class that simulated an average day. Key words were read through the story in which the children had to pick up the container they were given and dump it into a bowl full of clean water. Inside these containers were items that represented grass clippings, soap from washing cars, oil from cars, fertilizer and a variety of everyday things we use. By the time the story had ended, the bowl was contaminated with all of these items. This represented the run-off into groundwater, which flows straight to our lakes and streams and further down into our connecting waterways.
This led to the question, what can we do to help prevent this from happening?
In another hands-on activity, each group was “given” a certain amount of money to spend on cleaning up an oil spill. The students had to make a spill response plan to try to figure out what types of tools they could purchase and use to help clean a real oil spill. The classes worked in small groups to budget and purchase the supplies, and if they had enough money left, they were able to spend that on helping clean-up marine life. Students realized through this exercise they have a responsibility to protect these animals.
The clean water was contaminated with oil and the third graders used their purchased items to clean up the spills as best they could. They quickly realized, this was not an easy task. They were also given a couple of feathers that represented birds. As they swished the feathers around in the spill, they were able to see the oil sticking to every part. If the kids had money left then they were given dish soap to help clean off the feathers. All along this lesson the kids were reporting their observations and sharing with one another their disbelief on how such a small amount of contamination can cause so many problems.
For further information about the KC Recycling Depot visit www.kcrecycling.com Or, if you have hazardous waste disposal, such as yard and garden chemicals, household chemicals, paints and stains, gasoline, motor oil, electronics, light bulbs and/or batteries, you can drop them off at the Recycling Depot located at 220 S. Union St., Warsaw.