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Teacher Guide

Environmental Concerns in the Community

By Mary Howland, Beth Fensterwald, Steven Caringella
Meet the Authors

"How do we become aware of local environmental concerns and what can we do to make a difference?"

and Standards



 Student Guide

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Becoming a Water Scientist

Instructional Time: 1 hour a day for 1 day each week for 3 weeks.

Professional water scientists monitor the health of creeks and rivers by conducting water-quality testing similar to the tests our BioSITE students conduct on Guadalupe Creek. This activity addresses that in four parts. First, students will read an article online about a day in the life of a Water Scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), who takes water quality measurements on a river and transmits the data to a PDA (PalmPilot) to take back to his workplace. Second, students will visit a nearby creek (Guadalupe Creek) to take various water quality measurements (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen) in three different study sites. The measurements will be taken using Vernier Water Testing equipment with a Palm Pilot. Third, students will take this data back to the classroom where it can be uploaded to a computer. Students will use the data results to create graphs and interpret the information they have gathered about the creek. Last, the class will share the data with students at River Glen and Zanker Elementary.

California Content Standards
English and Language Arts
Grade Four
ELA.4.1.0. Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development
Vocabulary and Concept Development
ELA.4.1.2. Apply knowledge of word origins, derivations, synonyms, antonyms, and idioms to determine the meaning of words and phrases.
Grade Five
ELA.5.1.0. Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development
Vocabulary and Concept Development
ELA.5.1.5. Understand and explain the figurative and metaphorical use of words in context.
ELA.5.2.0. Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials)
Structural Features of Informational Materials
ELA.5.2.1. Understand how text features (e.g., format, graphics, sequence, diagrams, illustrations, charts, maps) make information accessible and usable.
Listening and Speaking
ELA.5.1.0. Listening and Speaking Strategies
Organization and Delivery of Oral Communication
ELA.5.1.5. Clarify and support spoken ideas with evidence and examples.
Grade Four
Life Sciences
SCI.4.3. Living organisms depend on one another and on their environment for survival.
SCI.4.3.a. Students know ecosystems can be characterized by their living and nonliving components.
Investigation and Experimentation
SCI.4.6. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting careful investigations.
SCI.4.6.a. Differentiate observation from inference (interpretation) and know scientists' explanations come partly from what they observe and partly from how they interpret their observations.
SCI.4.6.d. Conduct multiple trials to test a prediction and draw conclusions about the relationships between predictions and results.
SCI.4.6.e. Construct and interpret graphs from measurements.

1.Becoming a Water ScientistWeb SiteHardware:
Internet Access

Adobe Acrobat reader

Method of Checking for Understanding:
Student Work, Test/Quiz, Peer Review, Written Reflection, Evidence of Learning