Island Explorers Curriculum Home


Unit 4

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 5


Concepts/Objectives | Vocabulary/Background | Activity | Extension


Lesson Plan 5




Two to three weeks prior to the activity, contact the agency in your area that is in charge of marking storm drains. In the Los Angeles area contact "Heal the Bay." Contact your local city officials to find the agency in your area (they will handle all of the paperwork involved in being able to mark on the storm drains).


"Mapping the Storm Drains"


  1. What happens to the animals at the beach and in the ocean when there is trash? (issues of 6-pack rings, plastic that is eaten, pollution from chemicals)
  2. How does trash get from the neighborhood to the ocean? (through the underground storm drain system)
  3. What is the hole under the sidewalk with the red paint on the curb called? (catch basins)
  4. What can we do to the catch basins to let people know that what goes into them ends up in the ocean? (By putting special signs/marks on them).


Let's take a walk around the school block and find the catch basins and storm drains so we can paint them and put signs on them.


  1. Students and teacher (and assistants) walk around the block or two surrounding their school. Using either local street maps or student generated maps note where the storm drains are---either write down the location such as: "in the middle of the 1100 block of Harvard Ave." and then mark it on the map when they return to the classroom---Or find the exact location and mark it on the street map guide while they are on the walk.
  2. Write down and note which storm drains are unmarked and which need to be re-painted.
  3. These maps will be used during the next day's activity.

"Down the Drain"


  1. This activity works best by dividing the class into groups of 2 or 3. You will need an assistant for the other group(s). If that is not realistic, one group can remain in the classroom/library doing internet research on the impact of trash and pollution on marine life. During this time, the other students stencil one or two of the storm drains.
  2. Using the maps, take students out to the storm drains that are in easy walking distance of your school.
  3. Note and record any trash seen around the catch basin.
  4. Following the instructions on the stencil kit, stencil the storm drains.
  5. Under Teacher's supervision (or an adult) students may hang the information provided by your local agency (or students can create information signs as part of their activity) signs on the door knobs of the nearby residents.
  6. Graph any data or record in a science journal.



  1. How should people clean their sidewalks? (sweep away from the catch basin and throw the waste into the trash)
  2. What should people do with the oil from their cars when they change their own oil? (take it to a recycling station or garage that is equipped to handle it for them)
  3. What should people do about their dog's waste? (put it in the trash or it will eventually washout into the ocean)
  4. What can we do to be sure that people know about the storm drain problem? (put up more signs, talk to our friends, families, and neighbors, place posters at local stores)