Grade 8 Water

This six-week comprehensive learning package developed for Grade 8 students in Ontario and British Columbia, but with applications in all regions, addresses the importance of water to humans, other animals and their habitats.  It also addresses current and historical impacts of water systems in local watersheds and The Great Lakes.  Attention is given to the accessibility of potable water. Students research water pollutants, water rights issues, and global access. The unit culminates with student-driven action projects on a local water issue.

A thirty-day unit plan includes the following activities:

  • Students creating illustrated word walls
  • Brainstorming water-user lists
  • Examining water issues around the world through art
  • Creating watershed maps and 3-D models
  • Researching and presenting information about present and historical commercial and industrial use of water in local watersheds
  • Reflecting and discussing the impacts of the Great Lakes water system on local weather patterns and watersheds
  • Predicting the percentage of potable water on earth, and after a teacher-led demo on the actual amount, reflecting on the result.
  • Create an art display on types of water pollution
  • Examining the water rights of local industries and globally
  • Creating a mind map and picture collage of concerns related to local watersheds
  • Using the Engaging Students in Sustainable Action Project Guide to choose, research, plan, organize and implement action plans to address local water issues.

The first three weeks of the unit plan involve teaching some content related to water issues to inform the student’s action choice and enhance their projects.     

A “hands-on” investigation into hazardous materials is suggested as an extension. Students research proper disposal methods, do a home audit of everyday hazardous materials and then present their findings to the class in the form of a poster, pamphlet, skit, or TV commercial.

Lessons can serve as “stand alone” activities, or be combined with others lessons, as time permits.

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