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Clean Water Challenge

Cleaning Water Using Filters

Elementary, Middle

Description

In this lesson, students will be designing their own water filtration system that will help them understand how pollution moves through the soil and how it may be naturally filtered in our water. They will be asked to test their filter by running dirty water through and examining the result. Food colouring will be added to the dirty water to represent chemical pollution.

It is important to emphasis during the lesson how pollution is a threat to habitats, and that natural filtration is not enough to eliminate all toxins.

Teachers have the option to take the construction activity outside once introduction sheets are completed. Inform students to bring a change of clothes or wear clothes that can get dirty.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • A better understanding of water pollution.
  • How to build a water filtration system.

Strengths

  • The resource is easy to use and is a hands-on learning experience
  • Creating the water filtration system is simple, effective, and inexpensive
  • This activity gives students an opportunity to practice real science

Relevant Curriculum Units

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 4
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world.
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        • Exploring connections strengthens our understandings of relationships to help us make meaning of the world
    • Grade 5
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      • Science
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        • Wetland Ecosystems
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        • Evidence and Investigation
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        • Democracy: Action and Participation: Citizens Participatiing in Decision Making
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        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment
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        • Habitat and Communities
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        • Diversity of Living Things
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        • Life Systems: Habitats & Communities
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        • Life Systems: Diversity of Living Things
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        • Science 4: Habitats
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        • Social Studies 4: Humans and the Physical Environment
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        • Science 6: Life Science: Diversity of Living Things
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        • Science 4: All living things sense and respond to their environment

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Water (3)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource has students create multiple filtration systems, test them for contaminants and interpret the results to conclude what works best. Such an approach is objective and shows little or no bias.

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

After water filtration systems are analysed students are directed to consider what they can do to eliminate the possibility of pollution in our water system.

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 given a worksheet to fill out as the test their creations and have been given the material necessary to create their own water filtration systems but are not told how to build them. 

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered

Students are given the opportunity to determine what they can do in their every day lives to help with the problem. They discuss what they can do in their everyday lives to prevent pollution.

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 Satisfactory
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 Poor/Not considered

Teacher can take students outdoors to complete the activity.

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

Students discuss what they can do in their everyday lives to prevent pollution.

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
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

Findings will be compared to other sources of filtration systems in the classroom. Students are able to create their own filtration system. 

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
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 Very Good

Students are asked to explore a problem by building their own models to help come to a conclusion. They are given the material necessary to create their own water filtration systems but are not told how to build them. 

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
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

Students will be able to relate to the a problem in their own communities.  

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 will be asked to work in 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 Satisfactory

A worksheet is provided and could be used as an evaluation tool. 

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 Poor/Not considered
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

Students are responsible for determining and comparing different filtration systems.

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.