I get a fair number of questions about the classes that the Ikkatsu Project is running these days… they are all a little different, depending on the grade level involved, but this last session has been with Middle School students at public and private schools in Tacoma. I teach a 4-day session about plastic, with an emphasis on microplastics, how they get into the water and how to identify them in actual samples.
The students collect their own water samples (fresh or salt water), prep them for analysis, then examine what they’ve found through a microscope. Using ambient and UV light, they find the miniscule pieces of plastic in the sample, and make observations on their findings. Most of the pieces they found this time were plastic fibers and there were a lot of them.
The class can be scaled down for an elementary school application, or turned into an actual field study with High School students, but it is essentially designed to get the students to think about plastic and the way they interact with all things plastic on a daily basis. It’s science, but not just science, and the hope is that it will make a real difference as they begin to make their own decisions.
The photos are from student studies at Annie Wright School and Jason Lee Middle School.