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Activity: Students will investigate 1) sources of water pollution, and 2) the impacts of water pollution on aquatic life through two separate open inquiry . Students will make observations about pollutants by analyzing lab materials and drawing on prior knowledge and experiences. They will about sources of water pollution and the impacts of pollutants on aquatic life. Students will to test their questions, analyze their results, and draw conclusions based on results and additional research. Students will direct the inquiry experience and you will facilitate.
Age group: Open inquiry in theory is appropriate for all ages because it is personalized. Students ask their own questions and design their own investigations. The guiding materials included in these two activities, however, are geared more toward high school students as far as language and format is concerned. Having some experience with inquiry-based learning and experimental design is helpful but not mandatory. You are there to help guide them through this activity, as are the guiding materials included in this resource. You can use this resource to teach students about inquiry-based learning and how to design an experiment if you are up for that. This activity is also great for seasoned inquiry-based learners. In other words, there is no specific grade level for this resource. Consider the population you are working with and your own teaching objectives.
Materials and prep: To prepare for these activities you will need to gather materials and set up the lab. The first activity on pollutants and their sources requires the collection of water samples and water quality testing kids. You could modify the activity by asking students to collect water samples to test based on their question. The second activity on the impacts pollutants have on aquatic life will require a variety of pollutants such as detergents and pesticides (a list of ideas is provided in the product), and any aquatic organism to test those pollutants on. Elodea is a great option as it is cheap, accessible, and is low maintenance.
For more tips on how to implement student-directed open inquiry activities, including helpful scaffolding questions, visit Experiential Learning Depot Blog.
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