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Adopt a Drain Campaign

Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Description

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:

  • Locate and map neighborhood storm drains.
  • Identify waterways that could be impacted.
  • Categorize pollutants.
  • Develop communication materials to raise awareness in local citizens.
  • Develop and implement a storm drain clean-up plan.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Identifying pollution types.
  • Mapping landscape features.
  • Public education.
  • Researching an environmental issue.

Strengths

  • Learning occurs outside of the classroom
  • Solution based learning that emphasizes citizen action
  • Builds connections to other action projects such as "Yellow Fish Road"

Weaknesses

  • Does not include student information about distinguishing between non-point source and point source pollution
  • No formal assessment strategies
  • Includes some general information about safety but considering that the activities involve cleaning items from storm drain grates  along roadways there should be a more detailed safety plan for teachers to use

Recommendation of how and where to use it

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.

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.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 9 Ecosystem Dynamics: Learning and Living Sustainably (STSE)
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interaction of Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Life Science: Interactions Within Ecosystem
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions and Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
        • Interactions in Our Environment
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Chemistry and the Environment
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interactions Within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 7: Life Science: Interactions within Ecosystems
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Waste Management (1)

    • Source Reduction
  • Water (1)

    • Watershed Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
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:
  • 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

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.

  • 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 Satisfactory

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

  • 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

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.  

  • 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 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. 

  • 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 Poor/Not considered
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 Good

Exploration with hands-on activities supports evidence based learning that fosters dialogue and expression of individual ideas and conclusions.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

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

  • 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 Good

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.   

  • 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 Satisfactory

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.

  • 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 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

  • 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

Students work in small groups.

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 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.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

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.

  • 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 Good
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.