Bioswale Unit

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Bioswale Unit

  1. 1. Emilie Lavin January 24, 2010 Bioswale Explorers Solve the Stormwater Problem I. Overview and Expectations Clean water is a basic need for life on earth; water makes our planet habitable. As far as we know, there are no other planets that have enough water to support the complex network of living things on our planet. Yet clean water, one of the building blocks of life, is becoming a scarcity on our planet. It is essential that educators teach today’s students how to conserve and protect our local the waterways. If all children learned how to protect their community watersheds, we could raise a generation of students with the skills to manage this precious resource. A place based curriculum unit on bioswales, (a drainage system that cleans and filters stormwater runoff), is a great opportunity to give students a sense of agency about this important issue. Addressing the planetary water shortage is overwhelming, so it’s best to start in a familiar place. There is a new bioswale at the school where I teach second and third grade --Willamette Primary School in West Linn, OR. I plan to implement the following unit to teach my students one way that we can protect and preserve our local waterways. This experience will give my students an understanding of the bioswale on their playground. By working with the city of West Linn and local watershed advocacy groups my class can make a contribution to how their community deals with stormwater runoff. My hope is that this experience is one of many that will confidence to tackle problems that arise in their communities and their world. II. Essential Questions What happens to the rain once it hits the ground? Why can’t the land absorb all the rain water? How does runoff affect our watershed? What type of pollution is caused by runoff? How is our bioswale part of the runoff solution? What is our community doing about stormwater runoff? How can we partner with our community? III. State and District Standards Oregon State Science Standards 2.3 Scientific Inquiry: Scientific inquiry is a process used to explore the natural world using evidence from observations. 2.3S.1 Observe, measure, and record properties of objects and substances using simple tools to
  2. 2. gather data and extend the senses. 2.3S.2 Make predictions about living and non-living things and events in the environment based on observed patterns. 2.3S.3 Make, describe, and compare observations, and organize recorded data. 2.4 Engineering Design: Engineering design is a process used to design and build things to solve problems or address needs. 2.4D.1 Use tools to construct a simple designed structure out of common objects and materials. 2.4D.2 Work with a team to complete a designed structure that can be shared with others. 2.4D.3 Describe an engineering design that is used to solve a problem or address a need. 3.3 Scientific Inquiry: Scientific inquiry is a process used to explore the natural world using evidence from observations and investigations. 3.3S.1 Plan a simple investigation based on a testable question, match measuring tools to their uses, and collect and record data from a scientific investigation. 3.3S.2 Use the data collected from a scientific investigation to explain the results and draw conclusions. 3.3S.3 Explain why when a scientific investigation is repeated, similar results are expected. District Social Studies and Science Standards: Children develop understanding of broad-based concepts through first-hand investigations, inquiry, perspective taking, the stories of predecessors and contemporaries, and a commitment to serve the global community. Second Grade District Social Studies and Science • formulate rules that help people stay safe and get along with each other • understand and use patterns as tools of organization • use a variety of recording and organizational tools • make inferences and predictions from evidence • create and use maps to represent actual places • gather information from charts, graphs and maps • recognize the purpose, structure, and function of groups
  3. 3. • define relationships that support community life (i.e., global, ecological, regional, economic, historical, social, cultural) • describe how geographical and geological qualities help define a community • describe how communities over time define themselves through their behavior and are affected by technology • identify the cause and effect relationship between two chronological events • describe how diversity enriches a community and is essential for balance • use the investigative processes of inquiry, observation, research, analysis, and communication • participate in solving problems and making decisions regarding current, significant issues Third Grade District Social Studies and Science Standards • formulate rules that help people stay safe and get along with each other • understand and use patterns as tools of organization (time, hierarchy, seasonal) • use a variety of recording and organizational tools in combination • make inferences, predictions, and generalizations from evidence • create and use maps to represent actual places, including accurate features, multiple types of information, and directionality • gather information from charts, graphs, and maps and cross-compare information • recognize the purpose, structure, and functions of groups • define relationships that support community life (i.e., global, ecological, regional, economic, historical, social, cultural) • describe how geographical and geological qualities help define a community • describe how communities over time define themselves through their behavior and are affected by technology • identify the causes and effects of chronological events • describe how diversity enriches a community and is essential for balance • use multiple sources to verify and extend information • use the investigative processes of inquiry, observation, research, analysis and communication • participate in solving problems and making decisions regarding current, significant issues • recognize that there are different ways of looking at issues IV. Learning Connections While studying the Willamette bioswale students will be able to connect their learning to their school and community. They will develop an understanding of how their actions connect to the community and their local watershed. Visiting staff from the Environmental Services Department of City of West Linn will clarify the connection between our swale and the implementation of their stormwater management plan. The city will also teach students some specific content knowledge about drains, pollution, and topics that interest them in the course of the unit. Students will then be posed with the task of finding a way that they can partner with the city. Students will also learn about the bioswale in the context of their local watershed from Tualatin River Keepers, an organization that works on conservation and education. They state on their website that one of their
  4. 4. main goals is to “stop stormwater pollution from reaching our neighborhood streams.” The end goal is for student enthusiasm and knowledge to support the objectives of The City of West Linn and Tualatin River Keepers. V. Intermediate and Culminating Projects This place based unit will require many research skills. These may include: journaling observations, keeping track of rainfall in the Willamette Valley; making diagrams showing why runoff occurs, using graphic organizers to display information, using surveys and interviewing techniques to collect data. The end project will depend on the community needs and student interests. One certainty is that students will educate the school during an assembly with a presentation. They will also develop a project to serve the greater community (e.g., a web-site, an article in the city newspaper or a film, maybe even a student task force. VI. Assessment Students will use a rubric to design their final project. Giving the rubric to students ahead of time sets a standard of accountability. The rubric will clarify expectations and the content to be assessed. The particulars of the project will be determined by student interest. They will have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in writing or speaking, but their work must answer all the essential questions of the unit. More than a mastery of the geologic or scientific concepts, I will be looking for an explanation of why the concepts are important and how we can be agents of change in our community. VII. Unit Outline Investigation One: Runoff State Science standards: Scientific inquiry 2.3S, 3.3S; Engineering and design 2.4D District Standards: using recording tools, make inferences and predictions, creating and using maps, gather information from maps, identify cause and effect, how communities define themselves What happens to the rain once it hits the ground? Go for a walk in the rain. Spend time outside and notice all the different surfaces that the rain falls on. Write down observations. Why can’t the land absorb the water in the first place? Walk again in the rain if weather allows. Discuss the above question. Why is it that the land can absorb the water in some places and it can’t in others? Walk around the swale. Talk about its role. What is runoff? http://www.epa.gov/weatherchannel/stormwater.html Read article to learn definition of runoff and causes. Discuss.
  5. 5. Read “Streams in the City” http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/nps_edu/pdf/urban.pdf Take a walk around the neighborhood and notice examples of issues talked about in the article. Walk by the swale. Talk about its role. How does runoff affect our watershed? Make a model of a watershed to demonstrate pervious and impervious http://www.stormwatercoalition.org/pdf/lessonPlans/lesson05-01.pdf
  6. 6. What type of pollution is caused by runoff? http://www.epa.gov/reg5rcra/wptdiv/p2pages/water.pdf what is water pollution What human actions cause runoff? Give examples of residential, commercial, automotive, construction, forestry, and agricultural runoff. Read article that talks about human causes of runoff. http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/nps_edu/pdf/stop.pdf Go for a walk around Willamette looking for evidence of pollution or possible culprits. Walk by the swale. Talk about its role. Make topographic map of the area around Willamette http://www.stormwatercoalition.org/pdf/lessonPlans/lesson05-03.pdf A collection of videos from the water channel: http://www.thewaterchannel.tv/index.php? option=com_hwdvideoshare&Itemid=70&task=categories http://www.ecostudies.org/ed_curricula_water_lessons.html http://www.catskillcenter.org/programs/edu/enviredu.html Investigation Two: Bioswale State Science standards: 3.3S.1, 3.3S2 District standards: make inferences and predictions, recognize purpose of groups, relationships that support community, Explore the bioswale and develop questions. Measure the swale. Identify the plants. Notice the earth materials in the swale. Identify and catalog plants. How many are there? How are they distributed? Make a map of the swale. How does the bioswale work? How is our bioswale part of the runoff solution? How does it benefit Willamette and the greater community? Visit with Bob from CREST. Visit with architects from H. Walker Macy. Spend time in the swale with both visitors.
  7. 7. Students have questions prepared for visitors about swale and its workings, as well as runoff, pollution, and how the swale helps manage stormwater.
  8. 8. Investigation Three: Partnerships District Standards: make inferences and predictions, recognize purpose of groups, relationships that support community, how geology and geography define community What is our community doing about storm water runoff? Investigation Four: Solutions District Standards: make inferences and predictions, recognize purpose of groups, relationships that support community, how geology and geography define community What can we do to help our partners? Read and discuss ten things that we can do to make a difference in our watershed. http:// www.epa.gov/adopt/earthday/index.html Student will develop a whole class project where they can synthesize their knowledge, work in small groups, and find a way to provide service to their school and local community around this issue. Why should we partner with our community? The organizations below will help us in our exploration of these questions as well as developing our content knowledge on swales and runoff. Tualatin River Keepers Tualatin River Keepers may work with us concurrently with other investigations in the unit. It will depend on how we partner together and how their educational program fits in best with the unit. There will be a field trip to our local wetland and river front as well as to a wetland in the area. Students will also learn to identify our watershed address: http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/nps_edu/pdf/what.pdf City of West Linn The city may visit us earlier in the unit. It will depend on how we partner together and how the topic of their presentation fits in best with the unit. I would like the students to develop an understanding of the city’s stormwater management plan. I hope that we can arrange a field trip, or a place based task where they can identify elements of West Linn Public Works.
  9. 9. VIII. Challenges and Opportunities The biggest challenge with this unit is my lack of content knowledge. I am learning quickly, but I don’t have a strong scientific background. Fortunately there are a lot of good resources on the internet to use. In order for my students to develop their content knowledge they will need to watch some films. There is not a lot of reading on grade level for second and third graders about bioswales. There are books and texts on water pollution, but for students to really understand how a swale works they will just need to see it and hear about how it works from a real live professional! I have never partnered with a community organization before and I am not sure of all of the challenges that come with that. I realize that I may have to do quite a bit of networking before I find the right project and right connection with someone. Another challenge is to find a developmentally appropriate way for my students to make a difference in their community. I hope that we can write or produce a project that will genuinely educate their peers, parents and other folks in the Willamette neighborhood. With this unit I have the opportunity to give my students a sense of agency. This unit is also a personal and professional opportunity for me. I can learn about a subject about which I feel passionately and hopefully pass that enthusiasm onto my students. If my students are not passionate about runoff, I hope that my enthusiasm will be an inspiration for them to find their own issues to explore in the future.
  10. 10. Introducing Stormwater Students will begin to develop their understanding of storm water runoff and where it comes from. Content: Stormwater Runoff Pervious and impervious surfaces Pollution Human causes of runoff Purpose: Students will be introduced to the problem of stormwater runoff. They will identify the surfaces on which rain fall. Through observation and testing, they will learn to identify which surfaces absorb water, and which don’t. They will learn to identify pollutants. Learning activities Part I: Exploration Developing a context for the concept of stormwater What happens to the rain once it hits the ground? Go for a walk in the rain. Spend time outside and notice all the different surfaces that the rain falls on. Write down observations. Why can’t the land absorb the water in the first place? Discuss urban versus rural settings Part II: Content Knowledge Developing vocabulary and knowledge of key concepts What is runoff? http://www.epa.gov/weatherchannel/stormwater.html Read article to learn definition of runoff and causes. Discuss. What human actions cause runoff? Residential, commercial, automotive, agricultural, construction, forestry Agricultural runoff Read article that talks about human causes of runoff http://www.epa.gov/owow/nps/nps_edu/pdf/stop.pdf Have students identify actions by themselves or their family that contribute to runoff. Evaluation Strategies
  11. 11. Walk again in the rain (if weather allows). Once again notice pervious and impervious surfaces. Assess students’ content knowledge by asking them to point out how absorbent different surfaces are. Also have them identify possible contaminants.

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