Fourth grade: Who polluted the Potomac?

who polluted potomac

What’s up with the jar of nasty water?

It started as a container of clean, clear water. Then, one by one, our fourth-graders poured liquid and solid “pollutants” into the jar while listening to a story about a day typical day in the life of the Potomac River.  The demonstration was part of a fourth-grade field trip to Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale, where naturalist Kim Young concluded with the question, “Who polluted the Potomac?”

paper watershed

Students adding “pollutants” to paper watersheds that they’ll flood with a spray-bottle rainstorm.

“We did!” the students answered. They then brainstormed ways that they can prevent pollution both where they live and downstream. Also during the trip, students learned about the local watershed by finding their watershed “address,” making and polluting their own watersheds with crumpled paper and washable markers, and walking to a nearby creek.

The field trip was made possible by a grant from Hidden Oaks, which received funding from Northrop Grumman and ExxonMobil. Nature center assistant manager Suzanne Holland added a surprise: she released monarch butterflies with the students.

Those monarchs have now had their passports stamped and are on their way to Mexico.

monarch release butterfly visible


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