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Water Pollution
by Matt O'Brien
University of Idaho

ITV SERIES: Water Sacred and Profaned

Grades 7-9


Students will investigate the subject of water pollution at a web site and apply it toward a group presentation. This project/study activity will help bring students' attention to the subject of pollution, and will hopefully result in more environmentally conscientious individuals. The students may want to create a recycling program within their school. Litter collection on weekends may also be encouraged. At this site students will investigate different aspects of water pollution including: forms of water pollution worldwide, causes, effects on the environment and animals, and efforts taken to solve these problems.


Students will be able research a topic at a web site.

Students will be able to organize a coherent report.

Students will be able to identify causes of water pollution sighting examples, effects on the environment and animals, and techniques used to treat different forms of water pollution.

Each student will be able explain one aspect of the groups' area of study.

Students will explain through group presentations the information they investigated at a web site.



Learn about America's Watersheds http://www.epa.gov/surf/

Get the facts on Water from the USGS: http://water.usgs.gov/wid/index-environ.html


Invite someone from the water department to speak to the class on water quality. Another excellent activity is to visit a local river, pond or stream and collect water samples and conduct analysis on samples.


Begin by asking students what they think of, when they hear the word 'pollution'. Write responses on board. Ask for examples of pollution, clarifying any misconceptions.

Ask for examples of water pollution they know of. Discuss water pollution and how water becomes polluted. Discuss the dangers of water pollution and the importance of water for human survival.

State waters biological significance. Ask how water effects our lives. When and how do we use it? How many different ways do we use it? Many answers will follow. Supply more if needed (i.e. bathing, washing, playing, drinking etc.).



To give students a specific responsibility while viewing have students document how many different forms and uses of water they see during the clip.


START video when Linda Hogan discusses the value of water in her life.

STOP video after the images of water in different forms clouds, snow, rain, ice, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Discuss the different forms of water and its importance in all of our lives.

Encourage students to explore their thoughts about the video.

REPLAY the musical montage of images for students and have them free-write their thoughts during this section and invite them to share with the group.

Presentations will be evaluated for content. A quiz on water pollution will be given at the end of the unit.


This activity may carry over a couple of class periods. The end result will be a presentation given by the groups on their topic of study. This type of activity will create a 'jigsaw style' of learning where students can learn from other classmates' efforts. Students will distribute copies of their research for their fellow students.



Within assigned groups of 3 or 4 go to the Water Pollution web site at http://www.scilinks.org

Students will need to choose one topic to study within each group. Each group member will research one aspect of the topic of study. Groups will then organize their research and present it to the class.

1. Students will be divided into groups (3-4). Each group will go to the web site http://www.scilinks.org

2. Log in as a guest and click GO.

3. Enter HE140 and click GO.

4. Scroll down to Water Pollution and click GO.

5. Groups will choose which subject they shall study. Each student within the group will study one aspect within this subject. Example: Click on Oil spills, one student collects information by clicking one specific oil spill disaster i.e.Exxon Valdez. Another student in the group may choose to report on the measures taken to prevent oil spills (i.e. click on measures). Another student may choose to collect information about oil clean up efforts, click on techniques.. 6. Students may print out their particular area of study in order to organize and construct their report.


Each group will organize their gathered information into a presentation with each student reading the part of the report they developed. Group presentations should be well organized, and reported in a logical progression to make the presentation easier to understand.

For additional lesson plans and ideas relating to this topic and many others try TeacherSource at PBS Online! You will find activities, lesson plans, teacher guides and links to other great educational web sites! Search the database by keyword, grade level or subject area! Mathline and Scienceline are also great resources for teachers seeking teaching tips, lesson plans, assessment methods, professional development, and much more!

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