The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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A Scientific Discovery: River Pollution in Se7en Steps…

August 28th, 2014 · 9 Comments

When the weather is grim we often head for the local wetlands for an amble, instead of the beach. Another one of our favourite spots to go walking is in SilverMine Nature Reserve, which happens to be where the source of our wetland river begins.

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Last week we were lucky enough to hike the river… beginning close to the source we took the day to hike down to the sea… it was long, it was fun and it was well worth the effort to discover the path of a river.

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In our preparation for our river hike we took a trip to the aquarium to learn about river systems… how they work, how people affect them and conservation projects put in place to restore them. You can find out more about rivers and there are a few printables over here. Otherwise WaterWise has some great information on water pollution in our rivers.

A Lesson in River Pollution

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We began our walk with a lesson from our fab ranger and I wanted to share this great activity for learning about the effects of river pollution…

  1. Take a couple of kids and a large plastic sheet… Let them sit together with their legs under the sheet to form the river catchment area.
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  3. Add your carefully collected dry ingredients: we had some bokkie dung, washing powder, baking powder. Add your carefully collected wet ingredients: cooking oil, red food colouring, river sludge.
    • bokkie dung – sewerage
    • washing powder – soap suds from household and industrial washing
    • baking powder – factory chemicals and pesticides
    • cooking oil – representing all the oil from our roads
    • sludgy plants – representing all the algae and plants that can over run our rivers when the balance is not right.
    • red food colouring – all the liquid chemicals that flow into rivers from factories.

    I am sure you could think of more things to add… dental floss for fishing wire, plastic wrap for plastic, polystyrene from take-outs, paper strips from litter… and so on and so on…

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  4. Let it rain. Throw a jug of water onto your river valley.
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  6. Watch every drop of the river water run into the sea, which is really a large glass bowl.
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  8. Make sure that you catch every drop of this precious resource… water.
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  10. Now is the time to think about what would you like to do with that water… certainly not drink it, or to fill up our bath, or to wash the car, or for our plants even.
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  12. In fact nobody could think of anything that they would like to do with this water. It looked pretty grim and we certainly didn’t want to toss it into the river or the sea.

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Se7en + 1 Books Featuring Rivers

Following up on the book theme, a couple of books landed on the lounge table… story books, fact books, project books and classics…

We will bring you the story of our hike later in the week… there was a fab feature that we totally didn’t expect and I think we may well be visiting this spot a lot more often in the future…

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Tags: Cape Town · Green Living · Outings · Saturday Spot · Science · Se7en at School

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