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Me, You, and Water

Theme: 
Water
Grade: 
7, 8
Essential questions
Why do you think you use more or less water than the national average?
Why do you think you use more or less water than people in other nations?
What are some things you can do to reduce your personal water usage?
Why is water conservation an important part of sustainability?
What factors impact the quality of water resources?
Why should we care about the water quality of an aquatic ecosystem?
Where does wastewater go?
What are several examples of common household water pollutants?
What are several effects that pollutants have on infrastructure and ecosystems?

MODULE OVERVIEW: (Estimated total time needed: 4–5 class periods plus students’ time outside of class)
This module includes the following lessons:

Eco-Activity: Personal Water Audit (Estimated time needed: 30 minutes in class; 24 hours for students to collect data)
The Personal Water Audit is the first lesson in this three-lesson module on human water use and its impacts on the environment. In this lesson, students determine how much water they personally use in a day, a month, and a year, and in so doing they apply math skills in a real-life, meaningful way. They also learn about the implications of their water use as they study principles of water conservation.

Eco-Activity: Water-Quality Testing (Estimated time needed: Part 1: 30–45 minutes; Part 2: 30–60 minutes (on students’ own time or as a field trip; Part 3: 50–55 minutes)
This lesson is the second in this three-lesson module on human water use and its impacts on the environment. In this lesson, students learn about contaminants and impurities that can cause water to become undrinkable for humans and unlivable for marine life. They collect samples from local natural water sources; they then work in teams to investigate the quality of the water they sampled and make connections between their results and nearby natural and human activities.

Eco-Activity: Water Works! (Estimated time needed: Two 45–55 minute class periods]
In this final lesson of the series, students learn about how common household items can lead to pollution when those items enter our water system. Students build a model of a water infrastructure and then play a game to simulate how various activities impact water infrastructure. The class ends with students reflecting on alternative actions they might take to reduce a negative impact on water infrastructure.

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