***For this activity, you will need:
-5-6 large tubs, (sensory bins work well), depending on how many students are in your class.
-shreds of plastic bag
-beach towels (lots of these)
-4-5 smaller buckets
After discussing pollution I wanted to give students a demonstration of just how difficult it is to "un-do" pollution. I split the class up into teams of 4-5, and each team had their own "lake" (large tub filled with water). I said without our interference, our lakes would be clean and healthy, but because of humans, they become polluted. I walked around and poured vegetable oil into each "lake". I said that is like an oil spill. I then walked around and dumped a little bag full of glitter, shreds of plastic, and food coloring into each "lake". I said that acts as the garbage that gets dumped into the bodies of water on our Earth. Students were then given sifters, spoons, tweezers, and sponges and told to try and clean their lake. (the smaller bucket became the "waste bucket").
It didn't take long for students to understand the enormity of the devastation caused. I let them try their best to clean it up, and gave them about 15 minutes. The remainder of the time we discussed what worked, what didn't work, what was the hardest to clean up, etc. I then had each student fill out this worksheet independently.