Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this outdoor activity, learners explore how a surprising number of animals use human-made litter, such as cans and crumpled paper, to find food and shelter in their environment. Based on what they observe, learners are asked to make a value judgment about litter. This activity can be combined with a litter cleanup in a local park, schoolyard or other location.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 large grocery bags (one labeled "With," the other labeled "Without")
  • 6-8 white-bottomed containers or milk-carton halves
  • 6-8 magnifiers or bug boxes
  • 1 marking pen
  • OBIS Lawn Guide (optional)


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • The Scientific Worldview
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 1980