Rainy Day Kits at the America’s Cup

water filtration and ocean pollution.
water filtermultiple filters

This week in the Healthy Ocean’s Project Hall at the America’s Cup World Series in San Diego local kids visited after school to learn about non point source pollution from our Rainy Day Kits program and the science of sailing from the Exploratorium.

Sailors for the Sea staff members used the Rainy Day Kit lesson plan “Dirty Water Challenge” (contributed by New England Aquarium) to explain runoff, contaminants entering water sources and the water cycle.

Using easy to find materials such as coffee filters, cups, sand and rocks the students created their own water filters. Dirty water made of dirt, sticks and coffee was then poured into the filters. While pouring the dirty water into the filters staff explained the similarity to rain water that collects pollutants on it's path to the ocean. Natural filters (sand) and man made filters (coffee filters and cups) help prevent some of these pollutants from reaching the water.

To add a twist on how we traditionally teach the lesson plan, we added coffee to the muddy water. The coffee dissolved into the water and the filters were unable to remove the brown tint to the water. This represented pollutants such as pesticides that dissolve into the water and are therefore harder to remove.

Sailors for the Sea Rainy Day Kits for environmental education launched at the beginning of 2011. To date the kits have been downloaded 180 times, reaching 10,000 students nationwide.