On January 12th, 50 fifth grade students from the Mendell Elementary School came to Northeastern University for a field trip on “Who Polluted the Charles,” water filtration, and oil spill cleanup.
Students first engaged in a pollution activity, which provided them with an understanding of various sources of pollution and how every person contributes to contamination. They discussed pollution, water quality issues, uses of the water bodies, and the clean-up processes for different contaminants.
A water filtration activity was paired with the pollution exercise. Students designed a water filter using cups and a variety of materials which could be ‘purchased’ using their allotted budgets to filter out a sample of “polluted water.” The materials available range from coffee filters to sand, enabling the students to flex their creativity.
In the afternoon, the students examined the effects of an oil spill on a water body. In a simulated “ocean” (a pan of water), students dropped a small amount of motor oil into the water and observed the effects.