EE Week 2012 Greening STEM Planning Toolkit:
|Students analyze water quality samples taken from a nearby
river in Salem, Ore.
The interdisciplinary nature of water provides an excellent context for study in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) and other subjects. Conducting water audits of the school building empowers students to employ math and engineering concepts in an investigation that is meaningful to them, while exploring technologies for water conservation. Water quality monitoring projects connect students with local natural spaces and watersheds and allows them to make a hands-on contribution to real-world science.
Below, we outline projects and activities organized by grade-level as well as resources that engage students in STEM learning around water resources.
The Water Sourcebooks, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contain 324 interdisciplinary, hands-on activities on water resources and water use. Activities are organized by objectives, materials needed, background information, advance preparation, procedures, and resources.
Magnificent Ground Water Connection
Magnificent Groundwater Connection is a series of lesson plans surrounding groundwater from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Water.org Lesson Plans
Sci, Tech, Math
Developed by Water Partners International, this set of lesson plans and activities cover a broad scope of subjects including English, science and technology as well as social sciences like geography, civics and economics.
Be Water Wise! School Water Audit
Sci, Math, Tech
EE Week's Be Water Wise! School Water Audit guides students through their own audit of school water use, encouraging them to "find the leaks" in the water use at school and develop strategies to improve water conservation.
A Day in the Life of a Drop
This set of activities, produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sense program, was designed to help students in grades 3-5 understand the connections between the source of the water they use and the ways their water use habits affect the environment and human health.
Fix a Leak Week Learning Resources
The Fix a Leak Week Learning Resources, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sense program, are a set of activities designed for students in grades 3-5 to help them learn about water supplies and the importance of saving water.
The Dirty Water Project
In this activity, developed by the University of Colorado at Boulder, students investigate different methods of removing pollutants from water. They also design and build their own water filters.
What Happened to the Water? Designing Ways to Get and Clean Water
In this activity, students are given different scenarios about the water needs of communities and families. Using the engineering design process, they develop methods for utilizing and cleaning water sources.
Graphic Data and Analyzing Trends in Water Quality
In this lesson adapted from a Project Wet guide, students learn how to identify and monitor a watershed, using topographic maps and water quality data sets.
Water Filtration Challenge Educator Guide
Sci, Tech, Eng, Math
In this hands-on and inquiry-based unit, students are challenged to design and build a water filtration device using commonly available materials. Students must test and measure the performance of their device and analyze the data collected, mirroring the process used by scientists and engineers at NASA.
Water Conservation and Dietary Connections
In this lesson, students calculate total and average daily water consumption including both direct and indirect uses. They compare and contrast their water use with other students and represent their data graphically.
Modeling Water Quality
Sci, Tech, Math
In this lesson, students review and compare water quality data from two lakes in order to determine which is cleaner. They then must use Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to study the watersheds of both lakes to understand the factors that influence the water quality in each.
Water Quality Monitoring
This lesson plan was developed by LaMotte Company for high schools. It prepares students to set up a monitoring program at a local water source and collect and analyze data, allowing them to draw conclusions about the quality of the water.
Read a Water Meter and Water Bill
In this lesson from WET in the City's Water Watchers Guide, students learn how to read a water meter and water bill to get an overview of their school's total water consumption and the cost of that water. They monitor the water meter twice a day for two weeks, which helps them develop an idea of water consumption patterns.
Resources Earth Force GREEN
The Global Rivers Environmental Education Network program (GREEN) provides opportunities for young people to learn more about the watersheds they live in and to use their findings to create lasting solutions for pressing water quality challenges.
This teacher's guide from National Geographic Education uses the power of photography to illustrate the importance of using water wisely. In addition to general information, the guide provides teaching tips that help connect the content to the classroom.
Down the Drain
This Internet-based collaborative project allows students to share and compare information about water usage with other students from around the country and the world, based on water use data collected in the household and at school.
Sci, Tech, Math
Estuaries.gov helps educators bring the beauty and importance of estuaries into classrooms and educational programs. The site provides an avenue for students and teachers to learn about estuaries, research, and explore NOAA's "living laboratories" - the National Estuarine Research Reserves.
Water Footprint Calculator
The H2O Conserve Water Footprint Calculator helps determine personal and household water use, and in the process provides tips for conservation. This can serve as a supplement to water use lessons.
The Atlas of Water: Mapping the World's Most Critical Resource
The Atlas of Water uses vivid graphics, maps and charts to explore the complex human interaction with water over time and across the world.
Let the River Run Silver Again!
Sci, Math, PBL
This award-winning environmental conservation success story features the participation of Maryland elementary school students in the USFWS National Fish Passages Program.
The Field Manual for Water Quality Monitoring
Sci, Tech, Math
This manual, developed by the Earth Force GREEN program, details nine water quality tests, as well as chapters on heavy metals testing, land use practices and computer networking.
Going Blue: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans, Lakes, Rivers, & Wetlands
This guide, created in part by EarthEcho International, illustrates relevant facts about our oceans and waterways. It also gives readers ideas for how to make a positive change for the environment by completing a service learning project.
This app for Android phones allows users to retrieve current data like water level, temperature and stream flow from USGS servers for rivers, reservoirs, lakes and more. This can serve as a supplement to any water quality monitoring activity.
Water Aflamed: Water Footprint Calculator
This free app for iPhone allows users to determine how much water their lifestyle requires, including the foods they consume. This can serve as a supplement to water use lessons.
This app for iPhone provides a quick and easy method of estimating household water usage. This can serve as a supplement to water use lessons.
Where's My Water?
This app for iPhone and Android is an exciting way to learn about water physics and the flow of water through plumbing. This can serve as a supplement to lessons on water movement and use.