While the 5th graders have been doing exhibition, the 3rd and 4th graders have been delving into the topic of Sustainability. They are exploring the central idea: Living sustainably requires careful thought about resources and environments. To help us understand this concept, we are inquiring into: What resources are needed to survive, Distribution and availability of usable water, Renewable and non-renewable resources, and Why the Earth has changed and is continuing to change.
After discussing what a planet needs in order to create or maintain life and what living creatures need, we are focusing on water. We started by thinking about natural water systems, including where water is located and what percentage is usable fresh water. We also reviewed the water cycle through the water cycle game. In pairs, students traveled as water droplets and cards at each location told them what happened to them in that location. A favorite was getting drunk by an animal and getting to come back out again.
After we understood how water moves naturally, we started thinking about how human systems integrate with natural ones. Students brainstormed flow charts that would explain how water travels from the clouds, to our faucet, and then where it goes after it goes down the drain.
Continuing to think about human impact, the class worked together to brainstorm a list of ways that humans impact water quality. Using this list, we worked together to design an experiment that will help us explore how water quality affects living organisms.
Exploring the question: How does water quality affect plant growth?, they worked to set up their experiment. Each group choose 5 pollutants to test in addition to their control that gets normal tap water. After choosing, they labeled each of their plants, made a hypothesis, and set up their data collection table.
Our plants will give us a nice visual as we continue to explore this topic.