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Pollution from storm water runoff is negatively impacting healthy watersheds across Canada. This untreated water full of contaminants like fertilizers, oil and litter eventually flows into sensitive ecosystems. This resource teaches students how to become community-based stewards by identifying and targeting this type of pollution on a local level. Students research, describe and implement solutions using an active learning process where they will:
This lesson plan supports Grade 5-9 Science learning related to pollution impacts on watersheds, interactions in ecosystems, types of environmental pollutants and human impacts on the environment. The learning also involves active citizenship as students become abassadors for environmental protection in their community.
There is a close connection to the "Yellow Fish Road" program that was initiated by Trout Unlimited Canada. A class could expand their stewardship project to include painting storm drains to alert local residents about not using these structures to dump pollutants. A community painting day could be organized that actively involves citizens in caring about the waterways in their area.
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|
The key to successful pollution prevention is understanding the problem. Students learn that mapping and data gathering increases their knowledge about contamination on a local level. This research helps identify which waterways are negatively impacted by non-point source pollution and supports informed decisions about the development of public awareness for the "Educate and Communicate" activity.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
In learning how storm drains are often used as dump sites students will develop an awareness of the economic costs of trying to maintain these sites and remove contamination that has leached into soils and waterways. Understanding the environmental costs of polluted water will help learners make the link between water quality and human health.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
Students will deepen their awareness of how our “throw away” culture has contributed to significant environmental issues. They will also recognize that one component of successful conservation efforts is public education. Informed citizens will be more apt to practice sustainable purchasing and waste disposal habits.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
An important outcome of this lesson is that a class develops a multi-level stewardship project where an initial clean up of local storm drains is followed by “adopting” one or more drains to monitor and keep debris free throughout the school year.
|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
Participating in this action based lesson will build confidence that individual choices can make a difference and students are encouraged to verbalize their thoughts about the value of preventing storm water pollution.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Poor/Not considered|
|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||Satisfactory|
Observing direct evidence of littering will strengthen students concern for the harm that this causes wildlife and their habitats.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
|Locally-Focused Learning||Very Good|
All of the learning in this lesson takes pupils into their neighbourhood to examine the issue. By "adopting" a drain(s) the class also becomes community stewards of the local environment.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Poor/Not considered|
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Exploration with hands-on activities supports evidence based learning that fosters dialogue and expression of individual ideas and conclusions.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This resource uses science skills to collect and analyze environmental information, identify watersheds and define pollution types. Locating and describing storm drains supports geography skills like mapping, measuring distance and describing features of the local landscape. Students also create public awareness materials using writing and art.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
There are many opportunities throughout the resource for learners to establish connections with prior learning through inquiry based activities.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The interactive hands-on approach will appeal to a broad range of learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
|Experiential Learning||Very Good|
Exploring pollution in the neighborhood makes all of the activities very meaningful and relevant to students and builds strong community connections.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in small groups.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
There are no specific assessment strategies in this resource but the public education materials could be evaluated using English Language Arts writing rubrics. The "Storm Drain Maintenance Log" might be used as a formative assessment of participation and learning.
|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.|
The "Educate and Communicate" activity involves preparing public education materials that describe common pollutants that find their way into storm drains. Students are encouraged to use these brochures and posters to teach others about this issue.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|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|
|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.|