Trash on Texas Beaches - An Investigative Field Trip/Lab Activity

# Trash on Texas Beaches

### PURPOSE:

The purpose of this activity is to:
1. Investigate and classify various types of debris or trash found on Texas Beaches,
2. Calculate the total for each category for a 1/4 mile stretch of beach,
3. Determine the percentage of each category out of the total amount of trash collected,
4. Design a graphic illustration of the class's discoveries to create an environmental statement aboutmarine debris.

### MATERIALS:

1. Gloves-safety
2. Trashbags-collecting trash (Provided by "Adopt a Beach Program")
3. Journal/pencil-recording data
4. Camera-documentation of field experience
5. Materials for graphic illustration of trash collected (For the Classroom)

### TEACHER NOTES:

• I had approximately 20 students and 10 was an adequate number to cover the beach front. If you have more than 20 students, you may want to split them up so that they can cover two stretches of beach at the same time.
• Select an area of beach - determine its length.
• Divide students into two groups.
• Start one group at one end of the stretch of beach and the other group at the other end.
• Students should space themselves apart so to cover the exposed area of beach front.
• The two groups of students should start walking towards each other combing the beach for ALL types of trash. Document each piece of trash in journal or predesigned classification key.
• Students can either stop once they have met in the middle or keep going and retrace the other group's path picking up any undetected trash (if time allows).

### PROCEDURE:

1. Choose a partner to work with.
3. Document each piece of trash that you place in the plastic bag.
4. When you are certain that you have collected all the debris in your path, estimate the weight of the bag(s) and place them at the designated drop-off location.
5. Total the pieces of trash collected in each category. You will make a bar graph of these results back in the classroom.
6. Find the sum of all pieces of trash in all categories of each student's data to make a class bar graph.
7. Calculate the percentage of each category out of the total pieces of trash collected to create a graphic illustration (circle graph) of the class's discoveries.

### OBSERVATIONS:

1. Rank order the categories according to the class total of each category from the most to the least.
2. Which category had the most items? What explanation can you give for this being the largest category?
3. Which category had the least items? What explanation can you give for this being the smallest category?

### Use the resources above to answer questions 4-8.

4. How do the class's findings compare to the overall results of the Adopt a Beach Campaign?
5. How do these types of debris items harm the environment?
6. Research to determine the various sources of the debris found on Texas Beaches.
7. What measures have been enforced to correct this problem?
8. What other proposals can you make to correct the problem of "trash on Texas beaches"?

### CONCLUSION:

Follow the LAB WRITE-UP OUTLINE (see conclusion) to create your own environmental statement about marine debris found along the coast.

### Don't Mess with Texas Beaches!

Thanks for stopping by! You are #

2/25/2006

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