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

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches students how to use ph strips and intepret their findings.


  • 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.

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
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • Students are provided with an abundance of information relating to water pollution.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
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:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
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 the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

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

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education 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 Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

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:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
  • Many of the ideas presented within this resource can be easily linked to local environments.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
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.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
  • Opportunities for interdisciplinary learning are present, but are not fully explored within the activities.
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.


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 student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Good
  • The resource involves students in an engaging simulation and 'hands-on' activities.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
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 included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  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.