Students will be able to:
- identify their drainage basin;
- describe the path water takes from their school or community to the ocean;
- identify human activities that threaten ocean health; and
- identify five ocean wildlife species they are connected to through their watershed.
This is an active simulation game, best done outdoors. Students work in teams to deliver a container of clean water from an inland community, down a river, to an ocean creature.
Instruction sheet, two 25-40 m ropes, obstacles such as benches, six or more hula hoops in two colours, 20 or more coloured sponges, several recycled four-litre ice cream buckets, four two-metre-long cords (marked at half metres) for each ice cream bucket, measuring cup, paper and pencil for scoring, stop watch
No matter how far we live from the ocean, anything we do to affect water and air quality will also affect ocean health. Toxic chemicals, sewage, and silt added to the water passing through our community often find their way to the ocean. These contaminants can originate anywhere on the surrounding lands—in our homes, industries, schools, landfill sites, farms, and forests.
The resource sheet "Threats to the Ocean from Your Backyard" describes contaminants that threaten ocean wildlife. Use the information to introduce this activity and customize it to your drainage basin. Use the game cards in this unit that describe some of the ocean wildlife affected by land-based human activity in each major ocean.
- Set up the playing field (see diagram). For your "finish zone," identify ocean wildlife related to your drainage basin. Try to represent ocean hazards and safe zones from the watershed the students have studied. Students may also research and design their own course for others.
- Explain the goal and rules (see diagram) and create the teams. The teams delivering clean water to ocean wildlife are "Water Champions." The teams contaminating the water are "Human Hazards". Let the teams practise carrying water using the hand lines (see "How to Make the Water Bucket").
- Play the first round with the "Water Champions" taking buckets and hand lines. A time limit of three minutes will keep the game moving. The "Human Hazards" must throw sponges from within a hazard hoop, but can go anywhere to retrieve sponges. When the "Water Champions" stop in a safe zone, they can shorten the hand lines by advancing their grip one-half meter as marked. This makes carrying easier. But if they have new contaminant sponges in their buckets, they must lengthen their ropes.
- Record times, measure the water delivered, and count the contaminants (sponges) in their buckets.
- Have the teams switch roles for the second round, and again record results. Play more rounds, if desired.
- Measure success and identify the fastest team, the best protector of water quantity, and the one with the least contamination.
- Discuss the game.
- Compare results in terms of timing, quality, and quantity. What ocean wildlife do we affect in this drainage basin?
- What contaminants were delivered to ocean wildlife? What effect do they have?
- What real human threats to water and ocean health arise in your community and watershed?
- What can you do to limit threats?
Have the students design a game "course" from their research on their own watershed. Have them run the game as part of a school Oceans Day festival.
Observe the students for evidence of good team skills (e.g., communication, co-operation, planning). Can students relate the game to actual threats to ocean wildlife and describe them? Can they describe personal actions to limit the threats?
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