Water Pollution Solution
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Grade: 5th and 11th grade
Class: Science
Author: PJ Motsiff
NYS Content Area Standard:
Math, Science & Technology:
Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Math, Science & Technology:
Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Natural History
Keywords: water treatment
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: What are the similarities and differences of cleaning water naturally and through municipalities?

Challenge originally created by Shannon Hansen & PJ Motsiff.

Eleventh grade and fifth grade students will be divided into 2 groups based upon interest.  One group will be in charge of developing and performing lab demonstrations.  The other group will be responsible for creating a powerpoint that will visually and verbally conveys scientific ideas.

Approximately 25 fifth graders and 25 eleventh graders will work in assigned peer groups of 4 each representing the four component pieces of the project (1 fifth grader power point, 1 fifth grader lab, 1 eleventh grader powerpoint and 1 eleventh grader lab).  Each group of 4 will be responsible for ensuring the learning within their group. 

In order to increase comfort level and team mentality, each class will work on getting to know others in their own class, as well as get to know the "exchange" class by developing a "pen-pal" relationship.  Each class will come up with 5 questions they all want to ask of the other class.  They will do this by brainstorming in teacher facilitated groups.  The list of questions will be e-mailed by each teacher and answered by the individual students during the week before their meeting.  Upon meeting an icebreaker will be conducted.

Learning exchanges will take place in groups of four.  Both self and peer evaluation will be utilized during this time.

Each group will be required to discuss the differences and similarities of the two types of clean-up.  Both classes will meet as a whole to share ideas that were talked about.  Upon closing each individual will be assigned the task of finding an article (newspaper, periodical, internet) that surrounds the issue of water quality for homework.  All students will turn in a summary attached to their article.  Each student will be given a record sheet so that each family can record a 24 hour water use log to be turned in to their respective teacher.

All students will need access to the internet and powerpoint.  Eleventh graders performing lab demonstrations will be providede with materials such as filters, funnels, coal and distillation equipment.  Fifth graders responsible for lab activities will be provided with a sponge, pail and soil. Students will be given appropriate class time to work on the projects.  We plan to meet at the high school labs during a 2 hour lab block.  A bus will be necessary to transport students to the high school. 

The Challenge:

Eleventh grade chemistry students will demonstrate and educate fifth grade students about the process of municipal water treatment.  Fifth grade students will be able to communicate to the eleventh grade students the role of natural processes in water purification.

A Northern Forest Partnership challenge

Quality Standards:
  • Teachers will assign groups based on interest and personality considerations. 
  • Teachers will monitor the questions and exchanges between students for appropriateness.
  • Teachers will be guides during the development of the student demonstrations and presentations.
  •  During the meeting time teachers will be responsible for maintaining a safe environment for all students as well as troubleshoot any problems that may arise.
  • All scheduling and facility use will be arranged by each teacher

We hope to address many curricular content areas including:  ELA (communication for understanding), MST (technology use and inquiry) as well as mention aspects of possible careers in the area of water clean-up (C-DOS).

For reference, Shelburne Farms "Project Seasons" by Deborah Parrella,p. 285, 1995, Shelburne Vermont

Product Quality Checklist
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Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

PowerPoint Rubric - peer assessment


Lab Demonstration Rubric - peer assessment


Cooperative Skills - self assessment


Time Management - self assessment


Return completed water log


Return water article and summary


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