Integrated Science Lessons

Big Idea

Elements/chemicals/compounds enter our water from different sources. These substances can potentially affect our health. We monitor our water to assess the quality of our water. 

Essential Question

Energy cannot be created or destroyed - only changed or transferred.

TCE in Tucson - two issues: soil and water contamination and cleanup

Enhancing Under-

* Science is a dynamic body of knowledge that is constantly changing due to new discoveries and technological advances. 
* All actions have intended as well as unintended consequences some of which result in harmful environmental situations. 
* Energy can never be created or destroyed only changed (transferred). 
* Technology and science can work together to solve human problems and needs but do not necessarily advance in simultaneous time frames. 
* Humans interact with their environment in both beneficial and harmful ways. 
* In the long run, environmentally, it is more efficient and cost effective to prevent a harmful situation from developing than to clean up afterward.

Learning Cycle

Engage 1

Take It Off...Clean those Hands!
Take off mineral oil based hand lotion with 5 different water based solutions and test each solution for pH. Choose one on results of test results and cost factor for large-scale use. 

* Participate in an activity which they view as neutral only to uncover its unintended, possible harmful effects. 
* Nature of science: Understand science is a process and scientific understandings are constantly being questioned through advances in technology.

Engage 2

30 Years Later: What's Left Behind?...What You Can't See Can Probably Bite You
Test H2O again. Students will drain water from bucket (as in well H2O) test its pH and for N-P-K content that is now a new test available . Was N-P-K always in soil? Students will have to come up with use of a "control sample" to compare results against. Perform soil tests for presence of P (phosphorous) in the soil that wastewater from hand washing was dumped into. (E1) Variables: cost, soil type, decision making skills, available technology. The focus of lessons E1 & E2 is to have students realize that every action has both intended and unintended consequences and what is "known" today is not always the entire story. 

* Write a reflective piece answering the question, "Why did you contaminate the environment?" (home work assignment) 
* Conduct and evaluate simple soil and H2O tests.
* Conduct a risk benefit analysis
* Complete a HW (Hazardous Waste) inventory to self test their understanding of what "harmless" products they are presently using to better understand how this environmental situation could have occurred. It is hoped that this will address the BLAME FACTOR that students might want to get side tracked on and not hinder the rest of the unit's goal of investigating discovery and remediation techniques that are involved in environmental pollution clean-up situations. 

Explore 1

Groundwater Flow Model
The focus of this lesson is the water cycle 

* Tucson Water model 
* Topographic map/geographic map - Permeability/Porosity 
* What is in my water?
* Show real data TARP, TIA, AF44 
* Students will describe how ground water flows. They will also be able to describe the movement of pollutants underground.


Explore 2

How Does Water Get Underground?
On completing this activity students will be able to describe, calculate and predict the porosity and permeability of different rock/soil types. 

* Students will be able to describe, calculate and predict the porosity and permeability of different rock/soil types. 
* Students will use maps to predict movement of groundwater and the possible steps needed to remove the contaminants.


Explore 3

Sense of Place: Getting Familiar with Tucson
The focus of this lessons is for students to gather expertise and knowledge in predicting how water flows in the Tucson area. Exercises employ models to help students gain a conceptual understanding of the factors that affect water movement both above and below ground and what this movement does to solvents that are present in the soils. 

* USGS Groundwater fact sheet 
* Interview a Community Member 
* Go to: What is Groundwater? at USGS



The TCE Story: What Happened and When it Occur?
The focus is to have students use existing data and information surrounding TCE remediation. Students use data and maps to extract information to determine the effectiveness of remediation techniques used on TCE plume. 
* Students will watch a PP to help in their construction of a timeline of events from the 1940s to the present which led up to the discovery of the existence and extent of the TCE plum in Tucson. 
* Students will use data and maps to extract information concerning TCE remediation strategies and techniques and add info to their timeline.



Educating Others- the Brochure
In this Apply lesson, students are expected to process the previous information they have learned and design a brochure (or other information resource) geared to educating the public about the history, science and technology of what has occurred in their community in connection with the TCE contamination of the aquifer. It is the goal of this activity to be an interdisciplinary exercise, blending writing with effective communication techniques, local history with government practices, science and how it can drive technology, and how all of these affect the health and safety of a community. 
* Its goal is to inform and advise the community concerning health of the area and the technology and science that are being developed and used to monitor the environment. 
* Resource: PowerPoint in the Classroom