Human Actions that Affect the Stream

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SWBAT identify human actions that affect the stream.

Big Idea

Human actions impact the stream ecosystem.


10 minutes

I begin this lesson by asking students to review the background information and water quality graphs that we discussed in the previous lessons. I ask students to identify the water quality tests that might be closely tied to human actions. For example, students might note that tests of phosphates can be linked to the use of detergent in nearby homes or that the fecal coliform test might be linked to contamination from pet waste. The goal of the warm up is to get students thinking about how our test results can be tied to human actions. 

Team Brainstorming

15 minutes

Next, I ask students to collaborate with their teammates to create a list of human actions that might affect the stream site. I ask student groups to consider activities that they engage in within and outside of their home, for recreation, and for meeting human needs. I ask that each student group compile a list and be prepared to share their thinking with the class.

A video of a group discussion can be found here

Class Discussion

30 minutes

After the groups have recorded their ideas, I lead the class in a discussion where each group shares their thinking aloud. I ask each group to share one way that humans might affect the stream and why that action might change the stream. For example, a group might share that they thinking people change the stream by washing their car and justify their idea by stating that soap and fluids from the car might be washed into the stream via storm drains.  As each group shares their idea, I record all ideas on a class chart. A document with my class' ideas can be found here.

As a closing, I ask students to record one way that they personally might impact the stream and whether they have any ideas of ways to modify their practice to lessen environmental impact.