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Trash Traits

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Trash Traits

In this activity on page 24, learners perform experiments to examine whether or not trash can float, blow around, or wash away. Then learners analyze the effects of these characteristics on marine debris in the environment. It is recommended that part of this activity is conducted outside, but can be also be done indoors when modified.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • "Trash Traits Results" handouts
  • Several pieces of plastic, glass, rubber, metal, paper, wood, and food trash items (such as banana peels, apple cores, etc.)
  • Two- or three-gallon bucket filled with water
  • 15-inch round table fan (or similar)
  • Large, shallow container (such as a large dishpan)
  • Watering can
  • Water


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth Structure
      • Oceans and Water
  • Life Sciences
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Human Impact
  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Liquids
      • Gases
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science and Society
      • Risks and Benefits
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Sheavly, Seba; Reigster, Katie


  • Public Domain

Funding Source:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, AB133F06CN0193


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