4.3.4.1 Water

Grade: 
4
Subject:
Science
Strand:
Earth & Space Science
Substrand:
Human Interactions with Earth Systems
Standard 4.3.4.1

In order to improve their existence, humans interact with and influence Earth systems.

Benchmark: 4.3.4.1.1 Water Supplies & Uses

Describe how the methods people utilize to obtain and use water in their homes and communities can affect water supply and quality.

Overview

Standard in Lay Terms 

People need to interact with earth systems such as the water cycle in order to survive, these interactions can be either positive or negative, neither or both.

Big Ideas and Essential Understandings 

Big Idea: Human activities can affect/change the earths land, oceans, and atmospheres in a positive and/or negative way.

Benchmark Cluster 

MN Standard Benchmarks :  4.3.4.1.1 Describe how the methods people utilize to obtain and use water in their homes and communities can affect water supply and quality.

THE ESSENTIALS:

A quote, cartoon or video clip link directly related to the standard. "I miss the palm tree too, but at least we can have a refrigerator"

 

Cartoon From Approved By Michelle via drop box. See this page

Correlations 
  • NSES Standards:

(Content Standard F grades K-4) Changes in environments can be natural or influenced by humansSome changes are good and some are bad, and some are neither good nor badPollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health survival or activities of organisms, including humans.

(Content standard D grades 5-8) Living organisms have played many roles in the earth system, including affecting the composition of the atmosphere, producing some types of rocks, and contributing to the weathering of rocks. (P. 160)

  • AAAS Atlas:

(grade 9-12) Human beings are part of the earth's ecosystems. Human activities can, deliberately or inadvertently, alter the equilibrium in ecosystems. 5D/H3 (ID: SMS-BMK-0294)

(Grade 3-5) Some people try to reduce the amount of fuels they use in order to conserve resources, reduce pollution, or save money. 8C/E4 (ID: SMS-BMK-0532)

(Grade 6-8) Fresh water, limited in supply, is essential for some organisms and industrial processes. Water in rivers, lakes, and underground can be depleted or polluted, making it unavailable or unsuitable for life. 4B/M8 (ID: SMS-BMK-0154)

  • Benchmarks of Science Literacy

4C Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming have changed the earths land, oceans and atmosphereSome of these changes have decreases the capacity of the environment to support some life forms (Benchmarks pp. 73)

Common Core Standards

MN Academic Standards: English Language Arts

4.2.1.1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

4.2.3.3    Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

4.2.4.4    Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

4.2.7.7    Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.

4.2.10.10   By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

a. Self-select texts for personal enjoyment, interest, and academic tasks.

Misconceptions

Student Misconceptions 
  • There is no relevant research available on this topic in Benchmarks
  • Students may not realize that human impacts can be positive or negative or both; for example a dam may have  a positive impact for humans- electricity, but a negative impact on wildlife- salmon migration (Kindem)
  • Students may think that all the earth's resources such clean water are unlimited. Exposing students to conversations about other countries, where clean water is not a guarantee when turning on a faucet is an important discussion.  (Koch)

Vignette

Filtering Our Water (this vignette is also tied directly to the 4th grade NSE standard 4.1.2.2.2 The Engineering Design Process)

Penelope Porous is ready to teach her first year of fourth grade, however the first month has been harrowing and worst of all she can't seem to help her students understand how humans impact the limited water supply we have on earth.  Ms. Porous knows this is a critical standard for students to learn- but to a fourth grader- clean water just comes out of a faucet! with all her ideas tapped out- Ms. Porous goes to see the other fourth grade teacher Doug McClune, he's been around a while, maybe he has some ideas.  After an hour with the wise Mr. McClune, Ms. Porous is ready and well equipped to get the job done.

As students enter the classroom, they see a large fish tank filled with very dirty water,"eww" says Melody, "Yuck" says Abi- "that's gross". "too bad" says Ms. Porous, I was hoping we could get some fish for our new classroom fish tank.  "You can't put fish in there, we need to get fresh water first!" says Melody. "We'll see about that" says Ms. Porous. 

First Ms. Porous writes the science benchmark on the board in student friendly terms- she asks her students to copy it into their science notebook as the title of this unit.

I can describe how people obtain and use water in their homes and how this affects water supply and quality.

Before proposing the challenge, Ms. Porous has students take time to record observations about the dirty water in the fish tank into their science notebooks.  Students are quick to notice all the large debris such as fishing line and a plastic cup, then as they settle in they can describe the soil, and sediment they also see floating in the water. 

"Your challenge" Ms. Porous says, "Is to use the material on this table, to clean the water in that tank".  Students quickly look to see pop bottles cut in half, sand, kitty litter, coffee filters, gravel, cotton balls and other materials that they are familiar with form their rock unit. "hey, we can make a filter with those pop bottles," says Abi.  Students are quickly pared up to discuss and design their water filter in their science notebooks. As the students are writing down their ideas and sketching designs into their notebook, Ms. Porous quietly walks around the room asking questions that prompt her students to think deeper- "why do you think a particular material will work better or worse then another, what could you do to find out?" Ms. Porous allow the design experience to naturally unfold over several days.

After students have completed designs in their science notebooks, she allows them to construct the filters to their design specifications, students then test their filters in front of the class. Ms. Porous notices some students already changing their design, Melody yells at Abi- "Your cheating", Ms. Porous quickly steps in.  "Students, we are scientists today, and I'll remind you that scientists work together so that they can learn from each other." As students naturally begin the redesign process, they integrate all of the design aspects that worked the best to clean the water.  The end product is a filter that drains the water clear.  "Now we can keep the water clean and get fish for the fish tank" says Melody.

Ms. Porous end the lesson, explaining to the children, that the fish tank represented the planet earth, and its limited water supply.  Ms. Porous reads the story in her science kit- Saving Silila's Turtle. Students talk about how the water in the tank, and how water on earth can get dirty or become polluted.  Students talked about their role in keeping the earth's water clean, and how scientists and engineers can work together to engineer solutions for world problems like clean water and air.  Finally, on a clean page in their science notebook Ms. Porous asks students to describe how people obtain and use water in their homes and how this affects water supply and quality.  The science notebook is what Ms. Porous assesses after school- she is pleased with the students work. 

Resources

Instructional Notes 

Instructional suggestions/options:

  • Best practice for this standard is to integrate it with the content and engineering standards that 4th  grade students are also required to learn.  So, although you might have a good activity about climate change or wind farming, be sure to incorporate activities that highlight water and its properties, earth materials and the practice of engineering.  All this said- designing a water filter out of common recycled household and earth material is a great example- especially if it includes a "challenge or problem" and an opportunity to redesign and rebuild.
  • Best practices should include teachers giving examples of both positive and negative impact of humans, teachers often focus on the negative impact of human interaction with the environment, and this can be overwhelming for young students.  Additionally, a teacher could provide opportunities for students/ classrooms to have an impact on their community and school with such activities as classroom recycling and schoolyard clean-ups.
  • Selected activities:
  • The activities below support the benchmark: 4.3.4.1.1 Describe how the methods people utilize to obtain and use water in their homes and communities can affect water supply and quality
  • There are many tried and true free and packaged activities that can help a teacher meet this standard.  Good areas to focus on for this standard are water and earth materials as this standard should be taught in conjunction with these other fourth grade standards, and not as a stand alone activity- increasing the depth of student knowledge in all concepts addressed by these standards. Students and teachers will be able to think of many common practices where human interaction affects natural systems; industrial farming, damming of water ways, recreational activities and wind mill farms are all good examples.  Although many of these topics can be studied through reading, research and modeling; hands-on opportunities for understanding should not be left out. 
  • EiE (This is a purchased activity) Water, Water Everywhere, designing water filters: This unit addresses the increasingly important issue of water quality through lessons that teach students about water contamination and the ways that people ensure the quality of their drinking water. It is important to note, that there are many free activities where students use common household material to design a water filter- you do not need to purchase the EiE curriculum.
  • From MnSTEP: Water Runoff: How the Ground Water in Your Community is Affected:With this activity students will create a model to demonstrate how water runoff can be positively or negatively affected by soil types, plants, or various structures in the area.
  • A real world example: Science Netlinks: Jean Engineering: No one can live long without water. But in places where the drinking water is contaminated by toxic waste from mining or chemical processing plants, people don't live long with it, either. In this Science Update, science reporter Bob Hirshon speaks with a researcher who has come up with a novel way to clean up the poisonous drinking water of a small community.
  • Building Water Filters: Students will learn about the importance of water and the role it plays in our lives. Students will be exposed to what must occur each day so that they can have clean water.
Instructional Resources 

Additional resources or links:

New Vocabulary 

Vocabulary/Glossary:

  • Existence- continuance in being or life
  • Interact- to act on or in close relation with each other
  • Influence- the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others
  • Earth systems - such as weather systems, water cycle, and rock cycle
  • Cycle:  A process or action that repeats itself in the same order over time.
  • Earth materials:  Any substance that makes up or comes from the earth.
  • Quality- an essential or distinctive characteristic, property, or attribute
  • Additional vocabulary can/should be taken from the water and earth science standards; depending on how this unit will be taught.
  • Pollution- the introduction of harmful substances or products into the environment
  • Contamination- to make impure, esp by touching or mixing; pollute 
  • Aquifer--a geologic formation(s) that is water bearing. A geological formation or structure that stores and/or transmits water, such as to wells and springs. Use of the term is usually restricted to those water-bearing formations capable of yielding water in sufficient quantity to constitute a usable supply for people's uses.
  • Commercial water use--water used for motels, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, other commercial facilities, and institutions. Water for commercial uses comes both from public-supplied sources, such as a county water department, and self-supplied sources, such as local wells.
  • ground water--(1) water that flows or seeps downward and saturates soil or rock, supplying springs and wells. The upper surface of the saturate zone is called the water table. (2) Water stored underground in rock crevices and in the pores of geologic materials that make up the Earth's crust.
Technology Connections 
Cross Curricular Connections 
  • Current Events: A collection of resources for teaching about the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010) The tragic explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that occurred on April 20, 2010, has sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil pouring into the Gulf of Mexico. While it's still too early to predict the extent of the environmental and economic damage from this spill, its ultimate impact will depend on a long list of interlinked variables, including the weather, ocean currents, the properties of the oil involved, and the success or failure of efforts to stanch the flow and remediate its effects.  Science NetLinks offers educational materials that you may find useful for incorporating this current event into your classroom.
  • Students keep a filed journal about human/environment interactions that they create such as: a school yard garden or a bird feeding stations- any location where they can observe their interactions withthe environment.  Science notebooks are a place for students to record questions, predictions, data, conclusions, and visuals such as charts and diagrams. They also provide a place for students to link prior knowledge with the new information gained in an investigation. Notebooks are a permanent record of what students actually learn. They can be used throughout an inquiry-based unit, from vocabulary terms to conclusions at the end of a lesson or unit. From this site.
  • Students can create a collage of the different ways humans interact with their environment using pictures from magazines or online sources. (Idea from Kindem, my writing partner)

Assessment

Students:

1.       What are some possible causes of water pollution or contamination in your community?

a.       there are many possible answers to this question, teachers should be sensitive to the community they teach in when using this assessment, for example farming can have many negative impacts on water quality but is is also an essential practice in farming communities. 

b.      to make this multiple choice:

i.agriculture (yes)

ii.fishing (this could be a yes or no)

iii.developing hiking trails (not usually, if done responsibly)

iv.birdwatching (no)

2.       Is the earths water supply unlimited? why or why not?

a.       Students should know that the earths water supply is limited, based on activities that the class completed, students should explain some reasons or facts that help prove why the earth's water supply is not unlimited. 

3.      Explain how fertilizing the lawn might affect your communities water supply?

a.       fertilizer can add many unnecessary chemicals or contaminants to the local water supply

4.       Explain how activities such as taking less time in the shower or turning off the water can help your community?

a.       there are many acceptable answers to this question

5.      List a few ways that people in your community obtain and use water in their home?

a.       there are many acceptable answers to this question, fourth grade children will be familiar with things like cooking, doing laundry, watering the lawn.

6.      You have just been elected to student council, and your first order of business is to reduce the amount of water your school is using, how will you achieve this result?

a.       students should make clear connections between the human use of water at the school and how less water could be used, or how water could be used more responsibly- for example reducing the amount of time the water sprinklers are used, or making sure sprinklers are used at dawn and dusk. 

Teachers:

a.       Teachers should be able to describe how people obtain and use water in their homes and how this affects water supply and quality.

1.      Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: Where Would it Fall? Volume 4 page 158

2.      Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: Where Does Oil Come From? (V4, p.151) - although this probe is about oil as a limited natural resource it has some good parallels for water as a limited natural resource and is worth reading before teaching this standard.

Administrators:

Administrators should be aware that this standard is about human interaction with the    environment.  Administrators should look for teachers to make authentic connections for  fourth grade students, although much of this content can be very complex, there are many opportunities to help fourth grade students connect to the issues of water supply and water quality.

Differentiation

Struggling Learners 

Bricks and mortar vocabulary labels (bricks are content specific vocabulary like quality or supply.  Mortar are words that a student might need but are not content- for this unit examples might be- system or cycle) and word walls, vocabulary posters,  pre-teaching: accessing prior knowledge, graphic organizers, each activity needs to have reading, writing, speaking, listening component. (Keenan)

English Language Learners 

Bricks and mortar vocabulary labels (bricks are content specific vocabulary like quality or supply.  Mortar are words that a student might need but are not content- for this unit examples might be- system or cycle) and word walls, vocabulary posters,  pre-teaching: accessing prior knowledge, graphic organizers, each activity needs to have reading, writing, speaking, listening component. (Keenan)

Extending the Learning 

G/T: invariable when issues of water supply, and water quality arise- the dreaded disposable water bottle becomes a point of discussion.  Have students design a water bottle label with the intent of educating the consumer about water quality issues in their school, community etc. (Got this idea from the project 7 water bottle at the caribou where I was working): http://www.project7.com/

Multi-Cultural 

Teachers should be sensitive to the community they teach in when teaching this content, for example farming can have many negative impacts on water quality but is is also an essential practice in farming communities.

Special Education 

Bricks and mortar vocabulary labels (bricks are content specific vocabulary like quality or supply.  Mortar are words that a student might need but are not content- for this unit examples might be- system or cycle) and word walls, vocabulary posters,  pre-teaching: accessing prior knowledge, graphic organizers, each activity needs to have reading, writing, speaking, listening component. (Keenan)

Parents/Admin

Parents 

Students can create a water use gage, and take it home.  Students can complete a study with their families to see how much water they use in a day/week etc. (Activity idea adapted from project wet)