How Harmful Is It?
|Objective: To explore
the effects of marine debris on people, animals, vessels and communities.
Activity: Students complete a form that requires them to make decisions about how severely different types of marine debris affect people, animals, vessels and communities. As a class, results are totaled and analyzed to determine which types of marine debris are most harmful.
Vocabulary: Ghost fishing, medical waste, entanglement, ingestion
· Enough copies of "How Harmful Is It?" handout for the entire class
Subjects: Mathematics, Science, Social Studies
Learning Skills: Analyzing, calculating, classifying, comparing and contrasting, decision-making
Duration: 30 minutes to compare tally; 30 minutes (preferably the next day) to analyze and discuss results.
Grade level: 4-12
1. Distribute the "How Harmful Is
It" handout to the class. Make sure students are familiar with the
types of debris in the table. If possible, label and display examples of
the actual debris. Review with student the instructions at the top of the
page. Then have students fill out the table.
5. The discussion should also introduce the concept that the abundance of certain types of debris may make them more harmful on a large scale than other types that appear to be more dangerous. For example, while hospital needles are extremely dangerous, they are less common than debris such as fishing line and nets, and therefore may have a less of an overall effect on marine and coastal animals and communities.
(Note: The numbers that students arrive
at by doing this exercise do not represent objective data on marine debris
effects. Instead, they help students explore the many ways that debris
can harm the different components of marine and coastal communities. Students
should come away with the knowledge that certain types of debris may have
a greater effect on specific animals, people, vessels, and places, but
that almost all marine debris can be harmful to some part of these communities.)