The Science of Litter Show

KS3 Teaching Notes

This show explores the very important issue of the impact of litter on the animals which share the world with us in a stimulating, thought-proving but fun way..

During the show volunteer assisted demonstrations help us find out how the currents in the air (the wind) and the oceans are formed – this then gives us an understanding of how the litter we drop on the street in our home town is then carried to other places around the world.

We look at lots of different examples of litter and find out which ones

·      Float

·      Sink

·      Dissolve – biodegradable

·      Don’t dissolve – not biodegradable

Some materials dissolve/ corrode/ break down in nature quickly whilst others can take decades, hundreds or thousands of years. Some forms of litter will never break down.

If litter is biodegradable it can be digested by animals.

Dog poop is litter – how quickly does it dissolve. When it does dissolve where does is go? What can it do?

Dogs sometimes spin just before they poop – this phenomena allows us to discuss forces – and then explore magnetism and magneto-receptors – thus giving a volunteer the opportunity to become ‘Snoop Dog!’

Science of Storm Drains – diet coke and mentos are used here; I have built a plumbing system above the coke bottle, however, some of the pipes have been blocked how does this affect the flow of liquid through them?

Using Styrofoam, which is rapidly changed from a solid into a liquid plastic in front of their eyes, the science of chewing gum is then explored.

Where does our Litter Go? What Does it Do? Is the mantra throughout the show.

The ‘what does it do’ links to flooding and other effects on our wildlife.

Science of graffiti closes the show – we make invisible ink to demonstrate how thermochromatic inks work –

How ocean currents are formed

A sample of Curriculum Focus:
• Properties of  materials
• Dissolving
• Forces & Energy
• Polymers
• Buoyancy
• Combustion
• Acids. Alkalis and Neutralisation

How blocked drains can cause streets to flood