Search for Resources

Big Water Ideas 2

No Water Off A Duck's Back, 3 Strikes You're Out Froggy and Something Fishy Going On



This grouping of three activities is part of a larger unit on water pollution.  The lessons will help educate and empower students to become active guardians of water resources by increasing awareness of the devastating effects of common marine contaminants.

  • In No Water Off A Duck's Back students create a simulated oil spill and see the effects it has on birds.
  • In Something Fishy Going On students test the pH level of various liquids and explore how ph can effect aquatic organisms.
  • In 3 Strikes You're Out Froggy students take part in a game designed to simulate the life cycle of a frog and demonstrate the effects of pollution on amphibian populations.

General Assessment


  • This resource is well laid out and easy to use.
  • The resource addresses the important issue of water pollution in age-appropriate manner.
  • A variety of engaging hands-on activities for students are provided.
  • The resource respects the complexity of the issues and does not attempt to over simplify issues.
  • A personal affinity with the Earth is encouraged through discussions and activities out of doors.


  • Students do not take part in authentic action experiences.
  • The resource lacks assessment ideas and tools.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • The resource implies that all humans should take more responsibility for protecting our watersheds.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Acid Rain
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Wildlife Protection
  • Water (1)

    • Water Quality

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Good
  • Students are provided with an abundance of information relating to water pollution.
Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • The resource adequately addresses the environmental issues being explored.
  • Clear opportunities exist for teachers to address social and economic concerns in an age-appropriate manner
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Good
  • Students are not given an easy answer to any of the issues addressed.
  • Students are not provided with all the contributing factors relating to water pollution, but provided with an age- appropriate amount.
Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Poor/Not considered

Action experiences are not included in this series of activities but can be found in the larger compilation

Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Satisfactory
  • Students are provided with an abundance of background information that would aid in future action experiences.
  • Students are not explicitly taught skills necessary for taking action.
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Satisfactory
  • Students are encouraged to work together as a team.
  • Students encouraged to respect opinions of others.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Good
  • Many of the ideas presented within this resource can be easily linked to local environments.
Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
  • Students are presented with an evolution of water pollution and the effects that it has had on various species.
  • Students spend much of their time focused on the present.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
  • Students are provided with opportunities to reflect on their learning through discussion.
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Satisfactory
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary learning are present, but are not fully explored within the activities.
Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory
Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Good
  • Students are provided with opportunities to clarify their own values, and to have discussions in both small and large groups related to their learning.
Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Good
  • Students with unique learning styles will be engaged by the varying types of activities.
  • Methods for differentiating lessons for students with specific learning needs are not presented.
Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Good
  • The resource involves students in an engaging simulation and 'hands-on' activities.
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory
  • Opportunities for assessment are present within the discussion questions provided, but not explicitly explored within this resource.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory
  • An abundance of background information is provided for staff and students.
  • Specific case studies relating to the issues addressed are limited.
Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Satisfactory
  • The majority of activities are teacher directed.
  • Opportunities for students to choose elements of their own programming are limited.
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.