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about that demonstration...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

...of the 'enviroscape' I somehow accidentally volunteered to do for the third grade of an elementary school. The teacher had called the county agent, to ask if someone could come to the school and talk to the students about pollution and environment. No one seemed to be interested in doing that, so after some degree of pondering, I thought to myself: Surely I am smarter than a third grader, so yes, I guess I can do it. It was not much complicated, I just needed enough information to be sure I could answer questions. Of which there were very few: mostly just wanting to share stories.

I spent several hours viewing you-tubes and video demonstrations of the kit that came from the Extension Office. In a big rolling bin, with a plastic 3-D landscape, little houses, vehicles, animals to show a variety of different situations where a number of substances can create bad stuff in the water.  When it 'rains' (water misting bottle) after you sprinkle the bad stuff around, you see all the things washing into the ditches, waterways and realize it doesn't just disappear.

There are a variety of 'contaminants' used to show how different things can turn into pollution. All perfectly harmless - mostly colored sugar sprinkles, as used to decorate Christmas cookies. Lots of different types to represent pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, animal waste, soil erosion, oil and petroleum products, litter from human indifference. Cocoa powder to represent sludge from waste water treatment plants when heavy rains cause overflows. Paper shreds to show how stuff you toss out the car window does not really vanish.

I started off by asking what they knew about food chain, and water cycle. I guess I was a bit too optimistic about the baseline, as there was not much response. They either had no knowledge from science classes or were reluctant to volunteer - not much to share in the way of facts..

I was so organized. Had all my notes on file cards, so I would  not forget to say the really important stuff. I expect that the only thing they remembered long enough to go home and repeat to parents was: the water in the toilet before they use it is clean enough to drink, and every living thing poops. You can bet I heard a lot of 'ewwwhhhh' after that!

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