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In this STEM activity, the students will test the efficiency of the storm drain inlets found in their community. The resource aims to help students determine what types of litter are around their community and may be entering the local stormwater drainage system. Students will complete an experiment to test how much litter the storm drain inlets allow to enter the community's stormwater drainage system. If they find the storm drain inlets to be working inefficiently, they will work to improve the design and also test their improvements.
The resource teaches the students to:
The strengths of the resource are:
The following are the weaknesses of the resource:
This resource would be great for a STEM group to explore or for a classroom teacher to use an experiment/assignment for their class.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
In the background information provided, the author tries to balance the exaggerations that can be found in the mainstream media with regards to the amount of plastic in the ocean. The information continues to explain that it is a worrisome topic for scientists and that action can be taken.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The main focus of the resource in on the environmental aspect of the issue of plastics in the ocean. Teachers using this resource will need to supplement the discussions with the aspects of economic and social issues that interplay with the amount of plastics used in society and found in the oceans.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
|Respects Complexity||Very Good|
In the background information that is presented within the resource, the students are given a clear pictures of what is really happening in the oceans. As well, current research questions are explained as well as problems.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Very Good|
The students are provided with practical ideas on how to make a difference in their communities with the improvements that they could make to the storm drain inlets.
|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
|Values Education||Poor/Not considered|
This is not a focus of this resource.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
This is not a focus of this resource.
|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||Very Good|
The idea that they can take action if they find that their local storm drain inlets are not efficient empowers the students.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Very Good|
The students are evaluating the efficiency of the storm drain inlets found in their community and then they are acting on improving them.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
The background information provided gives a realistic sense of the present issue of plastics in the ocean. Teachers using this resource will have to be sure to incorporate information regarding the history of this issue as well as a positive vision for the future.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
Students must perform an experiment in order to find the answer to the questions that are asked leaving the opportunity for multiple answers.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This resource does depend on the use of Math in order to calculate averages and graph answers. Links to science curriculum are included.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The students do not generate the question in this resource. It is given to them; however, they can self-direct when it comes to the re-design of the storm drain inlet.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The variety of skills that are touched upon within the activity address a wide range of learning styles and abilities. Unfortunately, there are no strategies included for learners with difficulties.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
The hands-on nature of the experiment, the evaluation of a storm drain inlet in their own community and the observation of the types of plastic found near the storm drain inlet make this learning activity authentic.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Cooperative learning skills are not explicitly taught.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
As this resource's intended audience is students, there are not any assessment tools included; however, the resource does ask self-reflection questions of the students so that they may self-assess their results and progress.
|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.|
As this resource's intended audience is students, there aren't any opportunities for peer teaching; however, a teacher using this as a guide could easily have students teach community members about their findings with a presentation at city council meeting for example.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Poor/Not considered|
There are no case studies included. There are links to articles on related topics within the resource.
|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||Good|
The actual experiment itself is quite prescribed; however, there is a section within the resource that allows the students to "make the project their own" with suggestions as to topics that are related to the question being asked and other issues to explore.
|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.|