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Turning the Tide on Trash

Pelican Graphic
The Trails and Trials From EPA Document
Objective: To learn how trash that is not properly disposed of on land can become marine debris, and how marine debris can find its way back onto land.

Activity: Students play a board game that illustrates some ways that trash discarded on land gets into the sea, as well as how marine debris can get back to land. The object of the game is to successfully make it to the trash can at the end of the path.

Vocabulary: stormwater runoff

Subjects: Language Arts, Science, Social Studies

Learning Skills: Analyzing. Visualizing, Working in Small Groups

Duration: 40 minutes
1 Divide the class into groups of three and four students. Pass out one copy of the "Trails and Trials of Trash Game Board" handout to each group. Have each student in the group choose one of the game pieces from the handout ( the six-pack ring, the plastic cup, the balloon, or the fishing net), cut it out, and tape it to a penny.
2 After all of the students have assembled their game pieces, explain how the game is played. The game board is divided into two sections: the land section and the sea section. The object of the game is to be the first piece of trash to make it to the trash can at the end of the land section.
3 All players start on the "Land Start" space. Each player takes a turn rolling the die. The player with the highest number goes first, and the others follow in a clockwise fashion. In turn, each player rolls the die and moves the number of spaces indicated. If the player lands on a space without written instructions, the player remains on that space until his or her next turn. If the player lands on a space with instructions, the player must follow those instructions. If the player is on the land section of the board and the instructions indicate that he or she has been washed to sea, the player moves his or her game piece to the "Ocean Start" space. If the player is in the ocean section of the game board and the instructions tell the player to move back to the land, the player moves his or her game piece to the "Land Start" space. The game continues until one of the players arrives at the trash can. (Note: Players need to land on the trash can with an exact roll of the die to finish the game.)
Dolphin Graphic - OTHER DIRECTIONS Ask the students to write a story, poem, or song about the "travels" of a piece of marine debris. The story, poem, or song should discuss where the marine debris began its journey, how it "traveled," where it "traveled," and where it ended up. Another option is to write, stage, and perform a play or puppet show that illustrates the "travels" of one or more pieces of marine debris.

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Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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