A Story of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a vast, swirling soup of trash, twice the size of Texas. Can we ever clean it up? That’s what 8 year old Ila wants to know. She lives in Hawaii and likes to pick up trash whenever she goes to the beach. She lives closer to the garbage patch than most of us. To find out more, visit tumblepodcast.com or listen to the story below.
Ocean Pollution Experiment for your Kids to Try!
It can be more fun, when explaining something like pollution, to do a hands-on activity to really drive home the concept. This ocean pollution experiment is eye-opening to see what happens when there is an oil spill, especially around World Ocean’s Day when we explore ways to help Earth.
Large Tupperware container
> Blue food coloring
> Small rocks
> Ocean figurines
> Toy tugboats
> Test tubes
> Cocoa powder
> Vegetable oil
> Cotton balls
> Optional: bird feather, dish soap
Start your ocean pollution experiment by placing the rocks and ocean figurines in the Tupperware container. These will make your ocean model more realistic.
Add the toy tugboats just like how you see huge boats and shipping vessels floating in the ocean when you visit the beach.
Add a little bit of cocoa powder to each test tube (we made multiple as we had small test tubes). Add vegetable oil to the powder. Put top on and shake mixture until it turns brown. This is your “oil”.
We admired the blue water and being able to see the ocean creatures on the bottom.
First, we used the spoon to try and scoop oil out. What do you notice in your ocean pollution experiment at the moment? We were able to get out a little bit, but every time we went to touch the oil mixture it seemed to break apart and spread throughout the container.
Next, we used the cotton balls to soak up oil. While that also worked, again the oil mixture spread each time we tried to soak it up.
Lastly, we used the sponge to try and soak even more oil up. The sponge absorbed some oil but the end result was we had oil everywhere in the container. The more we messed with it, the more it spread all around the container.
We did not have a bird feather, but if you do, put some oil on it. What happens when you use a paper towel to wipe it off? Does it come off? Does it spread? Is it sticky? What happens when you use dish soap to try and get some oil off?
In your ocean pollution experiment, you’ll discover that it is not easy to clean up after an oil spill, whether that be in the ocean or on animals. For more experiments check out our ocean science box.
For more science experiments for kids, don’t forget to bookmark our blog page.
Photographs and content by: Heather Kucenski