Welcome to Common Core Texts, a project by Michael DeJoseph. Here you'll find high-quality reading passages for grades 3 to 12 in ELA, Social Studies, History, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and many other topics.

Mister Trash Wheel
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has been working hard to clean up its harbor. In 2014, they found some much-needed help in the form of a unique vessel that the locals call Mr. Trash Wheel. Mr. Trash Wheel is a self-navigating boat that steers around the harbor and picks up trash. It runs on solar power and uses a conveyor belt to move trash from the harbor into an on-board dumpster.

But Mr. Trash Wheel is no floating garbage can. His creator gave him large googly eyes that make him look like a funny cartoon creature. Below Mr. Trash Wheel’s comical eyes are his “mouth,” which eats up the trash in the harbor. These artistic touches have made Mr. Trash Wheel a beloved local character.

Cleaning up the harbor is a big job. The storm drains of Baltimore carry rainwater directly into the harbor. When trash and other debris float into the storm drains, they end up in the harbor. After one big rainstorm in 2015, Mr. Trash Wheel removed nineteen tons of garbage from the harbor in a single day!

Mr. Trash Wheel has become a social media star, with 9,000 Twitter followers and a YouTube channel. His creator, John Kellett, has mixed feelings about his invention’s success. On the one hand, he is glad that Mr. Trash Wheel is helping people to become informed about littering. On the other hand, he hopes to reach the day when Mr. Trash Wheel won’t be needed anymore. He says that Baltimore needs to deal with the source of the problem: the trash left on Baltimore’s streets. But for now, his creation will continue to circle the Baltimore harbor, cleaning the water and spreading smiles.


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