Down By the River
A lesson on water quality and watersheds
Grade Levels: 4-8
Objectives: Students will
2. Review the following Atlas articles and decide which
you will need to assign as background reading, depending on class topic
and knowledge base:
For instructions on printing Atlas material, see Tech Tips for Teachers
2. Have everyone pick up their items. Explain that on a count of three, the very last students at the back of the line will each hand one of their three items to the person next to them. That person will hand that item and one of their own to the next and so on down the lines. When passing items, students should continue to hold onto the two items they are reserving, and should try to keep anything from falling on the floor. The first person in line will place the items in a tub or just in a pile on the floor. Complete the first round of passing. Can anyone guess what the passed items represent? (Pollution)
3. Rotate each group one position "down river" and initiate a second round of passing. This time, have students pass two items each down this time. How was this different than the first time? Was it harder? What happened as the items were passed down? How the ones lower in the line feel? How is this like water pollution?
Look at the pile created. How many of the items are easily distinguishable? Which items are there many of? Can you tell which items belong to which students? How is this like water pollution? (In point source pollution, a specific source can be identified. Nonpoint source pollution is wide spread and the source can not be identified.) Return students to their seats.
4. Ask students to define watershed and give some examples. Hand out the small maps. As students follow along at their desks, use the poster map to identify the watershed boundaries, the creek, and major tributaries. Ask for a definition of karst, and for examples of karst features with which they are familiar. What karst features are in the Bryant Creek Watershed? Have students find them on the map.
5. Ask students to name the uses of land in the Bryant Watershed and surrounding area. Land use and natural features are principal factors in the water quality of streams and rivers. In a karst region like the Ozarks, ground water quality is also easily compromised by pollution. Have students define and then give examples of both point and nonpoint source pollution.
6. For the next class session, have the students research one contributor to nonpoint source pollution in our area. Tell them to look for methods (Best Management Practices) of preventing or controlling that particular nonpoint source pollution, and for any resources that might help them do so. Their starting point will be the article: What You Can Do to Reduce Nonpoint Source Pollution
Review internet research skills as necessary depending on the skills of the group; go over the Citing Online Sources handout with the students. Less skilled students might just follow a link or two in the Atlas article, while more experienced students might be encouraged to search for more material. Ask them to prepare a short presentation on their findings, appropriately documenting their sources. Encourage them to illustrate their reports with drawings or photographs clipped from the websites they visit.
1. Have students work together to design a development plan for an area in the local watershed that includes Best Management Practices to minimize nonpoint source pollution.
2. Are there local developments that might be affecting water quality? (Road construction, new buildings, parking lots, housing development, logging). Ask a city or county official to speak to the class about what Best Management Practices are in place.
The development of content for this lesson plan was funded through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region VII, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. Copyright © Bryant Watershed Project, Inc. All rights reserved. May be printed for classroom use.