Polluting the Potomac

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
As my students are wrapping up our Ecosystems Unit, I wanted to find an exciting activity to bring it all together. I found this incredible resource to simulate pollution HERE. It's called "Who Polluted the Potomac?" I decided to give it a shot with my students and it was a hit!


The hands-on learning lead to some amazing discussion about human impact on our environment and ecosystems. We discussed the various sources of pollution and also were able to come up with solutions on how to eliminate or reduce pollution.

Here is a picture of a few of the items you need for the activity. I had almost all of the items around my house or classroom (SCORE!). The only items I had to get was soil and leaves (which I had my students collect during their recess). It was so incredibly easy to set up!


With this amazing resource, there is a story that goes along with it. The story already has stopping points with discussion questions and lays out when you add in what substance to pollute the water.


To wrap up the lesson, I told them to try to clean up their polluted Potomac River. They looked at my like I was crazy, but tried the best they could. We talked about how once the damage is done, it's really difficult to reverse it!


You have to check out this activity. I did it with my 5th graders, but it could easily be done in any grades. It has such a powerful message, great discussion opportunities and nothing beats hands-on learning!


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