Activities & Lessons

Microplastics Activity

December 31, 2024

Sink or Swim?

Plastic trash is one of the most frequently found types of litter during Keep Tahoe Blue beach and community cleanups. What makes it even worse, plastic trash doesn’t biodegrade like paper and food waste. Instead, plastic trash sticks around as microplastic pollution, which persists in the environment indefinitely and was found in Lake Tahoe for the first time ever in 2019.

Expand your knowledge of plastic pollution with this activity from our colleagues at the Desert Research Institute. It will have you doing hands-on experiments that explore the physical property of density and how it relates to plastic waste.

You can find the activity here. Use it to follow along with the video. Do you think the plastics will sink or swim?

Complete this follow up question to have the activity meet NGSS standards for 6-12 grade.
Research ways that groups are currently trying to tackle our microplastics problem. Then create your own method for reducing microplastics in our environment based off what you learn.
(Meets NGSS standards MS-ESS3-3 and HS-ESS3-4)

Check out our other online waste reduction activities:

We love to see your photos! Show us how your experiment went by tagging us on Instagram and Facebook – #keeptahoeblue and #litterfreetahoe