Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's Water-Wise Wednesday with Frannie the Fish {Fish Feeding Frenzy}

This week Frannie wants to share a fun activity to do with your troop to discover how pollution can affect the environment, water and food sources, including how it can move through the food chain and become more concentrated.  Fish Feeding Frenzy is a great way to learn about biomagnification.  Often pollutants that exist in small amounts in the environment can become concentrated in creatures near the top of the food chain.  For example, in a stream tiny creatures that can't be seen or microorganisms called plankton, may absorb small amounts of pollutants; fish that eat lots of plankton might retain these pollutants in their tissues; birds or people that eat fish might concentrate pollutants still more.  This process is called biomagnification and can produce health problems for many creatures in an ecosystem, including humans.

Here's what you'll need:
  • Pom-poms of assorted colors
  • Identification chart showing what each pom-pom color represents (see the example below)
  • A plastic cup for each Girl Scout labeled as either a "minnow," "little fish," or "big fish."

Here's what you do:
 1.  Start by creating an identification chart to show which pollutant the different color pom-poms represent.  Don't show this chart to the Girl Scouts until after the game is played.  Below is an example list of pollutants used regularly in businesses and homes:
  • Yellow - fertilizers
  • Red - paints
  • Purple - solvents
  • Brown - chemical cleaners
  • White - oil and grease
  • Orange - metals
  • Black - motor oils
  • Green - pesticides
  • Light Blue - safe (contaminant-free) food

2.  Assign each Girl Scout the role of a minnow, a little fish, or a big fish.  Give each Girl Scout the appropriate cup after they are assigned their role.

3.  Scatter the pom-poms all over the ground. 

4.  The Girl Scouts will have two minutes to collect as many pom-poms in their cup as possible with one hand behind their back.

5.  Using the identification card, have the Girl Scouts identify which pollutants they "ate."  How did these pollutants get into the water?  The Story of Frannie the Fish is a great way to learn how pollutants can end up in surface water.

6.  Explain the basic food chain of the game: the minnows end up in a stream where they become a food source for the little fish.  Tell the Girl Scout "minnows" to pour their pom-poms into the cups of the little fish.  This increases the quantity of pollutants that the little fish have accumulated.

7.  The little fish swim to a river where they become a food source for larger fish.  Tell the Girl Scout "little fish" to pour their pom-poms into the cups of the big fish.  The big fish now have a large amount of pom-poms representing different pollutants.

8.  As the big fish swims through the river, they are caught by a fisherman and become the "catch of the day."  These fish become a food source for humans.  Humans, at the top of the food chain, will consume a large quantity of the different pollutants. 

9.  Make a list of ways to keep our surface and groundwater clean from pollutants.

Share pictures of your troop playing the fish feeding frenzy game or your list of ways to keep it clean here!