Grade: Middle
Subject: Science

#2989. Waht Is In The Water?

Science, level: Middle
Posted Tue Dec 2 11:34:49 PST 2003 by Susan Sanders (
Central Junior High, Pollok, TX
Materials Required: microscope, slides, magnifying glasses, water testing kit
Activity Time: 90 minutes
Concepts Taught: Water Quality

What's In The Water?

7th Grade

TEKS- 7.1A, 7.2ABCDE, 7.3ABCDE, 7.8B, 7.14ABC

Lesson Overview- Part I- Human Water Evaluation

This lesson compares human bottled water with the optimum required water needed for macro invertebrates in a pond. The students will be able to compare different bottled water and do water quality test on the brands. They will research the laws and rules on bottled water for their state. Each group will study the advertising, cost, and quality of the different brands.

Students will take a pre-test of their knowledge of both human drinking water and the quality of pond water.

Have students select a brand of bottled water. Write down their immediate reaction about why they selected that bottle. Was it the packaging, advertisement, or peer/parent selection? Ask them to fill out a questionnaire about why they selected that particular brand. Are there any questions they would like to ask of the manufacturer? Write these down. Don't let them interact or discuss their selection with other students, they need to record their own reactions before interacting with a group. Form cooperative student groups by placing the different brands within a group; this will create some dissention among the students. Students will research and work harder to prove a point within the group if different brands are grouped together. Let them discuss their feelings and ideas with each other. A recorder needs to keep a journal of brainstorming, discussions, ideas, research, and websites for the future presentation.

Methods of Implementation

Materials: different brands of bottled water, advertisements of water, and guidelines from Internet source on laws regulating the description of bottled water, water quality test kit, microscopes, slides, coliform test kits, CBL probes for temperature and pH.

Using the same original cooperative groups give them the different brands of water, advertisements, and regulations. Have them brainstorm what is actually in their water, how does it meet the regulation requirements, and how does the advertisement meet the qualification for those guidelines. Have the student's research on the Internet the brands of water and what is required by law on drinking water for human consumption. Encourage the students to use the Internet to get questions from the manufacturers about the bottled water. Keep all documentation in their folder. Make sure students understand that all research from the Internet is not always factual or expert information, they need to question and validate their experts in the field. Students need to keep a bibliography with links sited. Students can conduct a poll of different age, ethnic, socio-economic populations about purchasing bottled water. They can set up different taste tests to conduct unbiased experiments. Students can conduct water quality tests on the different brands of water to use in their conclusion. Nitrogen, phosphate, potassium, salinity, and pH test results can be recorded in tables and charts for a PowerPoint presentation.

Each cooperative group will create a power-point presentation for the class about the bottled water their group selected as the best product. They will use the scientific method of reasoning and support their research with facts, experiments, surveys, and Internet sites. The groups will have to be ready with facts and researched material for a question and answer section in their presentation.

Part II- Pond Water Evaluation

Materials- water quality test kit, digital camera, thermometers, coliform kit, CBL probes, Internet access, science fair exhibit panels, lab glassware, nets, limnology (freshwater) field guides, microscopes, magnifying glasses

The students will use their previous knowledge of bottled water for human consumption and design a bottled water company for the best water to support a pond habitat. The groups will research the optimum conditions for supporting both plant and animal life within a pond. The students will conduct basic chemical tests of water quality such as dissolved oxygen, pH, phosphate, nitrates, and turbidity. They will also use biological parameters such as micro and macro invertebrate's species, coliform bacteria test, and other biological indicators of healthy or polluted water. The students will use the expert advisors from Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Game Service, Angelina/Neches River Authority, and Stephen F. Austin State University professors to help set the parameters for the water conditions. The Internet will be used for research for the specific water conditions for the East Texas Pineywoods region. The group will create packaging, advertisement, logos, letters of endorsement, and a slide campaign for their product. This information will be on display at an open house for parents, teachers, visiting scientist and administrators to attend.


The culminating activity will be the product advertisement campaign that the students will present to peers, parents, scientist, and administrators. The student's scientific journal and folder of collected data will be on display along with the final presentation. The students will be able to compare the quality of water for humans and pond life and discover that there is a large difference in levels of water and why.

The students will be given a post-test on their knowledge of water quality for both human and pond life.

Effective Lesson

This lesson is effective for student learning because it allows students to interact with other students, professionals, and administrators. They are actively engaged using skills that are relevant and useful for the student's knowledge base. The presentation gives the students a platform to present data by initiating, developing, maintaining, and nurturing their thinking processes. The students feel empowered with the knowledge that they have gained and the technology they are able to use to prepare a professional presentation to a meaningful audience. This is the recommended instructional strategy for meaningful student learning. Problems that are inquiry --based and problem solving-based actively engage students in the process of learning.