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NOAA Kid’s Day – What happens when waste goes away?

MAY 11, 2018 — On Thursday, April 26, the Marine Debris Program led a NOAA Kid’s Day activity for 10-12 year olds. Three group classes were held with around a total of 60 students participating in a lesson on waste management using an interactive, team building game.

A pile of trash in front of a hanging, blue tarp.
The activity focused on throwing our everyday trash over this wall and into a place that is considered “away” because we cannot see it. Image credit: NOAA.

The lesson is part of a larger Integrated Arts Marine Debris Curriculum developed by the Washed Ashore program in Bandon, Oregon. The purpose of the game was to show students the cycle of acquiring more things and then throwing them ‘away,’ this cycle being one that most of us engage in daily. The goal of the game was to have students clean up their side of the room – imagining it is their homes or bedrooms. The students start by throwing trash over a barrier in the middle of the room, soon realizing the other team is doing the same thing. When the teams realize that no one side is getting clean, they must begin team building and strategize to clean up the trash. Ultimately, the students understand that the only way to get their side of the room clean, is to bag up the trash and hold onto it. The outcomes of this activity allow for conversations to be initiated in the classroom on how we can each make more responsible and sustainable decisions as consumers to reduce the amount of waste we produce and have to take care of.

This activity was a unique way to show students how they are part of this constant cycle and encourage them to make different choices to change how that cycle impacts our planet.

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Last updated Jun. 14, 2019