This curriculum unit is designed specifically for middle school New Haven students. Students will explore the journey of water through the hydrologic cycle to water treatment in New Haven. Clean water is something that is taken for granted in our society, yet for many in the world, clean water is a luxury. Very rarely does one contemplate the process that gets water to our homes clean and safe, however, this process is essential to our daily lifestyles. My goal in doing such a unit is to have urban New Haven students feel a connection to their environment. Often in an urban setting, the direct connection one would have with their environment is diminished compared to a student in a rural setting. I want my students to understand that an action that is made in Connecticut-their watershed- affects the water quality in New Haven, and that conversely an action made here, in New Haven, affects the quality of the water in lakes and reservoirs elsewhere. It is essential that students understand that actions have consequences. Often, New Haven students are exposed to Long Island Sound ecology and pollution, but rarely do they study fresh water ecology and pollution in the area.
My goal is to have my students ultimately be familiar with the water cycle, watershed, water treatment, water contaminates, and water pollution issues. I would like my students to understand that clean drinking water is something we all have to work to maintain not just something that comes out of your faucet. I plan to cover the above topics with four questions:
- Where does your water come from?
- What is in your water?
- Where does your water go?
- What can you do to protect your water?
These four questions will be specific to New Haven. Students will be assigned roles in which they will explore the above questions from their role perspective. Example: You are concerned about water quality for citizens in New Haven. You have recently read a report from the Environmental Protection Agency about industrial polluters in your neighborhood. You want to examine the impact of this pollution to your water supply. Your task is to become an expert in clean water legislation and research MTBE. Students would then work within their role to create a presentation answering the above four questions specific to New Haven. The second task for the groups will involve creating a “Plan of Action” to combat water pollution in New Haven. Students will work in-groups, either their roles or jigsaw groups (individual role players meet with other role) to make a decision on what to do about the problem.
The school this unit will be taught in is an urban magnet school in New Haven, Connecticut. Average class size is 25 students. The demographic population of the New Haven public school is: Asian American- 1.24%, African American- 54.82%, Hispanic- 30.95%, Indian American: -0.05, White- 11.08%, Other: 1.86%. Students are comprised of both New Haven students and out of district students. Out of district students are from neighboring communities such as Derby, Hamden, East Haven, West Haven, and Orange. Classes are heterogeneous and students have varying abilities including learning disabilities. (1)
New Haven City Standards/Connecticut State Standards addressed are:
Performance Standard 1.1-
Students will acquire and practice the ability to do scientific inquiry.
Performance Standard 1.2-
Students will acquire and practice the ability to understand scientific inquiry.
Performance Standards 3.3-
Students will understand the fundamental connections between organisms and their environment.
Performance Standards 6.2-
Students will develop an understanding of the use of science and technology and its effect on the characteristics of changing populations, ecology, resources, and changes in the environment.
Performance Standard 6.3-
Student will identify fundamental connections between organisms and their environment. (2)