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Operation Water Pollution- grades 6 to 12

Secondary, Middle

Description

This resource guides students through several issues related to water pollution. Students are encouraged to become involved in identifying, preventing, and monitoring water pollution in their community. Lessons involve interpreting teacher demos, participating in "hands-on" activities to simulate water pollution and treatment, and summarizing and presenting information they gather from various sources. Students create posters describing pollution types and write letters to local papers encouraging vigilance in protecting local water supplies. Many links to supplementary information on all topics are included.

The equipment cost for TDS and pH meters is $120.00, but school kits may be available free of charge by applying for sponsorship through the SWDF website.

A summary of lessons:

Lesson One- Water Pollution (1X60 min) Students brainstorm words/phrases that relate to water pollution and create a class concept map. After viewing a slide show on water pollution they are asked to look at potential causes of water pollution in their own community. Finally, a chart designed to track and count plastic bottles is distributed and the class is asked to keep a tally chart for 7 days.

Lesson Two- Types of Water Pollution (1X60min) Using a jigsaw approach, groups are assigned the task of summarizing and presenting information found on fact sheets that describe different types of water pollution.

Lesson Three- Cause and Effect of Water Pollution (1X90min)Through a cooperative learning activity, student learn how the industrial, agricultural, and household sectors of society are sources of pollution. Students draw a Venn Diagram to show a visual overlap of these pollutants. They then create and present posters relaying information of the impact these sectors have on pollution levels.

Lesson Four- Demonstration of Water Pollution(1X60min) A teacher demo is done showing how the TDS and pH levels of water change when different types of pollutants are added.The students are then asked to hypothesize how the different types of pollutants might be removed.

Lesson Five- Make Your own Water Pollution (1X60min) Groups of students test clean water samples using the TDS and pH meters, "pollute" the water, and then retest. They are then given materials to be used to clean up the polluted water. Students develop a water filter diagram.

Lesson Six- To Filter or Not To Filter(2X60min) Students build the water filter they designed in lesson five to clean their water.  Each part of the filter system design has a cost and each group must keep within a budget. Not every group has the same amount of money to spend. TDS and pH levels are recorded after filtering. The groups then present their filter system speaking specifically on the efficiency of the system and the affect that financial restrictions had on their effectiveness. Â

Lesson Seven- How Water Pollution Is Cleaned Up(1X60min)After watching a Power Point presentation on how water pollution is treated and cleaned a class discussion takes place around the theme that the cost of clean water often hinders its availability in some countries/communities. Students are asked to complete a writing assignment on this topic.

Lesson Eight- Water Bottles Everywhere(1X60min) Students gather information about the true cost of bottled water in terms of oil(transportation), waste, and pollution. After this jigsaw activity, students present their findings to the class.

Lesson Nine- Making A Difference(1X60min) After viewing two short videos on how effective different strategies are for reversing water pollution the class discusses water pollution within their own community. The students then write a letter to the editor of a local paper to bring attention to the community issues pertaining to water pollution.

Lesson Ten- I Want to Be An Engineer(1X60min) Students do computer research on the roles and responsibilities of engineers and Aboriginal water keepers. They then read about a water treatment scenario that takes place in a First Nations community.

Lesson Eleven- Ask An Engineer(1X60min) A water keeper and a civil engineer are invited to make presentations. After a group debriefing session, the students are given a writing assignment on what they would do about treating water if they were water keepers or civil engineers.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Critical thinking skills are developed
  • Responding and reflecting on written media and written text
  • Reading and viewing of different text
  • Analyzing and evaluating text
  • Listening critically to others ideas, and points of view
  • Selecting and integrating information from different sources
  • Manipulating materials to build models
  • Compiling data to use for interpretation
  • Organizing and correctly using materials to collect reliable data
  • Cooperative learning skills
  • Presenting data in different ways
  • Persuasive writing skills

Strengths

  • Lesson plans are well-organized and clear
  • There is a good supply of information supplied with fact sheets, Power Point presentations, and articles from newspapers and magazines.
  • Lesson plans include summarizing charts, reflection questions, answer keys, and exemplars for letter writing
  • There are many links provided for additional information 
  • Visual and written text build empathy for those whose quality of life has been affected by safe drinking water issues
  • There are cooperative learning opportunities
  • Students are given opportunities to discuss opinions on issues and the resource has local focus
  • The simulation activity-creating a water filter is fun and educational

Weaknesses

  • No authentic case studies are provided in this specific resource
  • The only action plan is a letter writing campaign
  • Teachers must develop their own items and rubrics for evaluation
  • Reading level of fact sheets/print media will be a problem for some students
  • No accommodations provided for struggling readers/learners

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Themes Addressed

  • Economics (1)

    • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Social Justice
  • Waste Management (2)

    • Hazardous Waste
    • Liquid Waste
  • Water (3)

    • Privatization & Sale of Water
    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

A good cross-section of material is presented about the types of water pollution, effects of consuming polluted water, sources of pollution and treatment methods. The resource needs to address, however, what can be done to reduce water pollution at its source instead of just focusing on how to treat it once it is polluted. Information should also be provided on what financial support provincial, municipal, and federal governments provide each year for water treatment infrastructure in Canadian communities.

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

The resource emphasizes the need for all citizens, and sectors of society to take on the responsibility to monitor and reduce the pollutants entering water sources and to ensure the adequate treatment of polluted water. The economic cost to create and sustain treatment facilities is also addressed.

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

Although lessons are teacher-directed, the students have ample opportunities to reflect upon many written and media text, demos, and hands-on activities to help them suggest potential solutions for problems presented. Critical thinking skills are encouraged with the hope that students would  become actively involved in water pollution issues.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The resource promotes an awareness of issues related to polluted water and its treatment. The only action experience is a letter writing campaign to the editor of a local newspaper. The resource does provide links to SDWF resources to find other action plans. These are extensions, however, and not an integral part of the 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 Satisfactory
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Empathy is fostered for those whose health and quality of life has been affected by polluted water in their communities.

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

Poor. There are no out-of -doors experiences.

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

Because the issue of availability of clean drinking water is important to all communities, any discussion about water pollution and water treatment facilities becomes locally focused.

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 resource focuses on current issues involving water pollution and treatment. Little information is given about the past although SDWF links could be used to find that information. The future is seen as positive only if we remain vigilant in our efforts to monitor/reduce water pollution and treat water supplies effectively.

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

Although lessons are teacher-directed there are opportunities for students to express opinions and insight into possible solutions and more importantly their role in implementing them. Critical thinking skills are encouraged which will hopefully empower students to become involved in water pollution issues in their own communities, in Canada, and abroad.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Satisfactory

The resource is primarily science-focused, but does cross-over to some extent into the math, social studies, and language arts.

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

The cognitive and affective domains are taught. Most activities involve interpreting, summarizing, and presenting information gathered by reading and viewing various written and visual text, watching teacher demos, and performing hands-on simulations. Struggling readers/writers may have difficulty with some assignments due to reading levels of text. The selection of groups for cooperative learning opportunities must be sensitive to this. There are no accommodations or modifications suggested for students with learning difficulties.

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

The resource has two simulation activities involving 'creating" polluted water, and then designing a filtration system to "clean it". There were no opportunities to work with "real" polluted water.

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 Poor/Not considered

Poor. There are no specific formative or summative tools, checklists, or rubrics provided. Although the resource offers advice on what to evaluate, it is up to the teacher to decide "how" to evaluate.

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

Poor. There are no relevant case studies used.

Some can be found on the SDWF main site, but are not specifically linked to this 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 Satisfactory

There are opportunities for students through reflections and discussions to go deeper into specific issues, although lessons for the most part, are teacher-directed.

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.