Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center 

David A. Gillam, Susitna Elementary, Anchorage, AK

                         WATER POLLUTION

Appropriate for grades K-6.

OVERVIEW:  There are a wide variety of pollutants that can affect
water and the plants and animals that live in the water.  This
pollution can be divided into three groups:  chemical pollution,
thermal pollution, and ecological pollution.  Since not all
pollution is human produced students need to understand that there
are sometimes "natural" reasons for some pollution.

PURPOSE:  These activities will help students' understanding of
water pollution and its potential effects on human and wildlife

OBJECTIVES:  Students will be able to:

 1.  Identify 2 or more pollutants in a bog, marsh, stream or
     other wetland area.

 2.  Relate a pollution prevention message through words and art.

 3.  Understand that some pollutants can not be seen.


 1.  Taking student a wetland area helps them become more aware of
     the water around them.  Take with you paper, pencils,
     clipboards, rubber gloves, plastic garbage bags and extra
     adults.  When you get to your wetland site divide students
     into groups of 3 or 4.  Each group is to look around the
     wetland area and find as many sources/types of pollution as
     possible.  On their paper a designated recorder for each
     group will record the different types of pollution found.
     After 5-7 minutes, come together as a whole group and discuss
     the pollution that is seen.  Since the visible pollution is
     often in the form of litter, discuss with your students the
     pollution that may be present, but not seen.  When the group
     discussion is over, pass out gloves and bags.  Divide
     students into groups and assign an adult to each group.  Then
     have the students pick up the litter pollution and take back
     to school and put in dumpsters.  Repeat throughout the year.

 2.  For this activity you will need paper, crayons, markers,
     crayon pastels and other art supplies.  Review with the
     students the types of pollution that they know about.  Talk
     about the ways people can help prevent certain kinds of water
     pollution.  List them on the chalk board.  Have students draw
     a picture showing how to prevent pollution of a wetland of
     other water source.  Encourage students to think about the
     source of the pollution and ways to either prevent or ways to
     dispose of some pollutants.

 3.  To help students understand that clear water isn't
     necessarily free of pollutants, place 5 clear liquids in
     portion cups.  Things to include should have a definite taste
     that students would recognize.  Use sugar water, white
     vinegar, salt water, water mixed with citric acid, and tap
     water.  Using cotton swabs, have students taste each liquid
     (dispose of swab after each taste) and record what they taste
     after each.  After students have all had a chance to taste,
     discuss that some kinds of pollution can't be seen.  If you
     have local creeks, streams, or other water ways that are
     unsafe for human use, this is a good jumping off point to
     discuss the problems these bodies of water have.

RESOURCES/MATERIALS NEEDED:  All resources are available in most

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:  Environment concerns can be understood by
even the youngest school children.  Providing them with a
background of information and an opportunity to actively use that
information, they will begin to develop a feeling of stewardship
for their world.  Using activities that develop environmental
stewardship in students will hopefully become a basis for action
in their future lives.

Click here to return to OFCN's Academy Curricular Exchange

Click here to return to OFCN's Academy
Click here to return to OFCN's Main Menu



This activity has been copied, with permission, from the Organization for Community Networks server to ours, to allow faster access from our Web site. We encourage you to explore the original site.

Return to Reach Out! Home Page
To Reach Out! volunteer organization at the University of Michigan