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Operation Water Pollution- grades 5 - 6

Elementary, Middle

Description

This series of 11 lessons guides students through an exploration of water pollution issues.  Through a variety of activities and cooperative learning strategies, the students explore the causes, effects and sources of water pollution in North America and the world.  Students will:

  • explore different types of pollution through simulation activities.
  • practise taking TDS and pH readings
  • take action to help prevent and educate about water pollution.
  • learn how to filter water effectively.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

This resource explicitly teaches:

  • how to filter water.
  • how water becomes polluted.
  • considerations engineers make when designing a water treatment plant.
  • how to test water using pH and TDS meters.

Strengths

This resource has many strengths including:

  • cooperative learning strategies are explicitly used within many of the lessons.
  • there are authentic opportunities for students to take action in regards to water quality.
  • the resource is well laid out and easy to use.
  • there is an abundance of background information provided for both students and teachers.
  • valuable links are provided for students and teachers.
  • lessons include a variety of different hands-on activities that will engage a variety of different types of learners.
  • both economic and environmental dimensions of problems and solutions are addressed.

Weaknesses

  • Many of the activities that students take part in are simulation activities.
  • Students do not have the opportunity to work directly with watersheds in their areas.
  • Students do not adequately address the needs of non-humans in regards to water quality.

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Themes Addressed

  • Water (2)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
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
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 take part in a variety of simulation activities where they are expected to learn to test water for pollutants, as well as learn how to filter water.
  • Multiple levels of complexity for these issues are not adequately addressed.
Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good
  • Action experiences are part of the main activity. 
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
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
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
  • Most activities take place indoors.
  • Point of view of non-humans relating to water is not fully explored.
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
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
  • The lessons within this resource focus mainly on the present and future of water supplies, and do not delve into the history of water quality issues affecting watersheds.
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
  • Many of the lessons are teacher directed, but students have opportunities to make their own discoveries relating to water.
  • Lessons are laid out in a way that students have the ability to guide the instruction based on their discoveries.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
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 Satisfactory
  • Opportunities for differentiated instruction are provided, but not expanded upon.
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 Satisfactory
  • Many simulation activities are provided within these lessons.
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 Good
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 and suggestions are made for assessment and evaluation, but are not fully expanded upon.
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
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
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.