The Great Lakes Basin provides a wealth of material to develop the five themes of geography and instill the virtues of philanthropy and environmental stewardship. Learners read and explore how waterways became polluted. They test water using the scientific method. They explore the interrelationships and responsibilities of all stakeholders: individuals, businesses, industry, government and nonprofits as stewards of the Great Lakes Basin and other waterways.
Focus Question: What does it mean to be a good steward of the earth?
The learner will:
After studying and testing water quality at a nearby water source or from samples provided in class, learners will compose and write letters to government representatives and non-profit foundations or agencies supporting efforts to reduce pollution or to encourage support for water quality.
Due to the technical nature of the content on water quality and the Great Lakes Basin, it is highly recommended that the instructor use the websites identified in Lesson One: These Lakes Are Great and Lesson Two: Great Lakes at Stake to become familiarized with the content to be developed with the learners. Internet sources for free and inexpensive materials are also identified.
Lesson Three: Responsible Stewardship—the Saving of the Great Lakes suggests either water testing from a river, lake, stream or pond or in-class testing from samples collected by the instructor. If a field trip is scheduled for water quality testing, additional time should be scheduled for transportation to and from the site.
Field trip experiment: Prior to taking learners on a field trip to the nearest lake, river, stream or pond, secure water quality tests, one to each peer group, and obtain school, district and parental permission. Obtain chaperones, transportation and provide protective gloves and goggles. This preparation should begin at least two weeks prior to the activity. Provide collection bags for each peer group to collect litter at the site.
Alternative to field experience: Conduct water quality tests on drinking fountain water samples and water that the instructor has obtained from the local pond, river, lake or stream. If your local elementary or primary unit does not have microscopes, contact the local high school or curriculum laboratory to borrow needed equipment.
See individual lessons for benchmark detail.
Lessons Developed By:
Grand Rapids Public Schools
Sibley Elementary School Building
947 Sibley, NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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