Lesson Title: Understanding Water Quality Grade/Age Level: Gr 5-9

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1 Western Montana Watershed Education Water Quality and Human Health A University of Montana Center for Environmental Health Sciences Education Outreach Project Lesson Five Lesson Title: Understanding Water Quality Grade/Age Level: Gr 5-9 Subjects Addressed: Env. Science, Health, Stewardship Class Time: 1 class period Lesson Developed By: Carlton Nelson, Science Teacher-Fred Moodry School, Anaconda, MT Nancy Noel Marra, CEHS Education Coordinator Inquiry-Based Lesson (Highlight which inquiry category best describes the level of this lesson): Guided Inquiry Challenge Inquiry Free Inquiry Teacher provides some Teacher provides question, Students choose questions questions and/or instructions students design and implement and design and implement for investigation. experiments. experiments. Identify the Lesson s Core Understanding (Describe importance of lesson - helps maintain focus): Water is a necessity of life and its quality affects human and aquatic health. Lesson Summary (A quick recap): Students are introduced to water quality through a Power Point presentation (focus on areas that will be tested during Lessons 8 and 10: dissolved oxygen, temperature, turbidity, ph, nitrates, and phosphates). Objectives (By the end of this lesson, students should be able to ): discuss factors that affect water quality infer health related issues related to water quality Inclusion of American Indian Content (The ways in which this lesson addresses any of the Seven Essential Understandings): Before scientific methods were established to help determine water quality, native people relied on strategies they had used for years. Native people looked for clues to establish the health of a water body. What do you think some of those clues might be? (Observe the organisms in the stream: Are there fish? Aquatic insects? These would indicate the presence of high dissolved oxygen and energy.) Aligning with Standards (Cite Montana Content and Performance Standards): science standard 2 Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of properties, forms, changes, and interactions of physical and chemical systems. science standard 3 Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment.

2 Preparing for the Lesson: Materials/Incorporation of Technology: PowerPoint presentation screen projector science journals Vocabulary: microorganisms organic matter agitation turbidity photosynthesis eutrophication metabolism effluent debris aerobic anaerobic gastrointestinal Adaptations for Exceptionalities (Instructional strategies and activities aligned with various learning styles and diversity of student population): Requiring students to take notes during the Power Point presentation would be beneficial for visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Resources: Implementing the Lesson: Anticipatory Set (The hook that sets the stage and is directly related to the learning at hand): Take a moment to make a list in your science journals of the things you can think of that can affect water quality. Introduction (Performance standards are clearly communicated: students should be able to articulate the academic expectations and what is required to be proficient/): I m going to use a Power Point presentation to help us look at some of the things that can have an effect on water quality, and therefore ultimately on aquatic and human health. You ll be expected to pay attention and be ready to join in the discussion when called upon. At the end of the lesson, you will need to be able to list some of the items involved in water quality. Body of Lesson (The use of effective and varied instructional strategies to convey the lesson s core understanding): Use the Power Point presentation and teacher notes to lead a discussion on the highlighted items that play a role in water quality. Closure (The bow that ties things up and directly refers back to the anticipatory set): Let s go back to the list you wrote in your science journals at the beginning of this lesson. Take a moment now to add to the list. (Pause.) What kinds of things did you add to your knowledge of this topic? (Call on students for answers.)

3 Extensions (Ways this lesson can be tied to additional learning opportunities): A physician or nurse can be invited as a guest speaker to address local health issues that have been attributed to diminished water quality. Assessing the Lesson Tools (Multiple ways to provide meaningful feedback on student learning): science journal lists student participation Instructor Reflections (Notes to self: what worked, what didn t, etc.): 'Environmental Health Science Education for Rural Youth' Grant Number 1R25 RR020432, is funded by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) grant from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the National Institutes of Health.

4 Water Quality and Dissolved Oxygen D.O. ppm (mg/liter) D.O. Ranges for Aquatic Life Effects on fish Effects on other aquatic life Dissolved oxygen (D.O.) simply means oxygen that is dissolved in water. Oxygen enters the water by direct absorption from the atmosphere or by plant photosynthesis. The oxygen is used by plants and animals for respiration and by the aerobic bacteria that consume oxygen during the process of decomposition Prolonged exposure is lethal. Prolonged exposure inhibits growth. Desirable range Water body contains a large amount of algae & plant life. Mosquitoes, leech & midge present. Bass, crappie, mosquito & midge present Trout, pike, stonefly nymphs, caddisfly larvae & mayfly nymphs present. Dissolved oxygen is one of the best indicators of the health of a water ecosystem. Dissolved oxygen can range from 0-18 parts per million (ppm), but most natural water systems require 5-6 parts per million to support a diverse population. Dissolved oxygen levels change and vary according to temperature, turbidity, rate of photosynthesis, degree of agitation, and prevailing barometric pressure. If yearly comparisons are made on dissolved oxygen levels, they should be done at the same time of day, during the same season and on a day with a temperature variation of only 10 degrees Celsius from the previous reading. When organic matter such as animal waste or improperly treated wastewater enters a body of water, algae growth increases and the dissolved oxygen levels decrease as the plant material dies off and is decomposed through the action of the aerobic bacteria. A decrease in the dissolved oxygen levels is usually an indication of an influx of some type of organic pollutant. Decreases in the dissolved oxygen levels can cause changes in the types and numbers of aquatic macro-invertebrates that live in a water ecosystem. Most aquatic plants and animals need a certain level of oxygen dissolved in the water for survival (see chart). Fish and some aquatic insects have gills to extract oxygen from the water. Species that cannot tolerate decreases in D.O. levels include mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs, caddisfly larvae, beetle larvae, pike and trout. As the dissolved oxygen levels decrease, these pollution-intolerant organisms are replaced by pollution-tolerant species like carp, catfish, worms, and fly larvae. Water Quality and Turbidity Turbidity is the cloudy appearance of water. Turbid water appears cloudy because light is scattered by suspended and colloidal matter (sand, silt, clay, algae, plankton, sewage, lead, asbestos, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals). Transparency measures the clearness of water and is an indicator of how well light passes through it. A Secchi disk is used to measure transparency in slow moving, deep water. The disk is lowered until it it can no longer be seen (known as the Secchi Depth and is recorded in meters). A shallow Secchi depth indicates relatively unclear water, while a deeper Secchi depth indicates clearer water. A transparency tube with a Secchi disk pattern at the bottom can also be used. A water sample lis poured into the tube, and water is released from the bottom via a small outlet until the Secchi disk pattern is visible. Excessive turbidity impedes aquatic plant photosynthesis by blocking sunlight. Suspended particles actually absorb sunlight, causing water temperature to rise and dissolved oxygen levels to fall. Suspended solids can harbor bacteria, protozoa and viruses, thus reducing the effectiveness of chemical disinfection (chlorination) of drinking water. Turbid waters can also damage boilers and pipes.

5 Temperature D.O. (ppm) 32 F /0 C F /~5 C F /10 C F /~16 C F /21 C 9 80 F /~27 C 8 90 F /32 C 7 Water Quality and Temperature Because it takes so much to affect water temperature, changes in temperature occur very gradually in nature. Under natural conditions, water temperature changes much more gradually than air or land temperatures do. Therefore, any increase in water temperature reflects a significant transfer of heat energy. Since cold water can hold more dissolved oxygen than warm water, one of the manmade problems associated with water quality is thermal pollution. Thermal pollution is the introduction of warm water or other substrates into an aquatic ecosystem. Sources include industries such as power plants and also storm-drain runoff that has been warmed on streets, parking lots and sidewalks. Human activities - such as cutting down trees, the removal of vegetation around the water, and construction - can lead to an increase in water temperature. These practices can cause an increase in erosion that leads to an increase in dissolved solids in the water. As dissolved solids increase, the water becomes turbid or cloudy which allows the absorption of the sun's rays that increases the water temperature. Increases in temperature cause changes in aquatic plants and animals: As the temperature increases, the rate of photosynthesis increases allowing more aquatic plants to grow. Increases in temperature also increase the metabolic rate of organisms that live in aquatic ecosystems. As their life cycle rate increases, they may not be available as a food source at specific times as needed by many migratory species. Water Quality and ph ph expresses the degree of hydrogen ion activity in a substance as a number between 0 and 14. ph is measured on a logarithmic scale that equates every one-unit change on the ph scale to approximately a ten-fold change in how acidic or basic the sample is. This means that a ph of 3 is ten times more acidic than a ph of 4. Pure deionized water has a ph of 7. 7 is a neutral value, meaning that the level of H+ and OH- ions in pure water are equal. ph is measured. If the level of H+ ions increases, the substance is considered an acid and the ph number is below 7. If the level of OH- ions increases, the substance is considered to be alkaline or base and the ph number is above 7. An acid has a range of 0 to any numerical value below 7. For example, 6.9 would be a weak acid. A base has a range of any numerical value above 7 to 14. In the United States the ph of most natural water systems ranges from , but variations can occur due to: The presence or absence of carbonates. The landscape: bogs, marshes, and pine forests tend to support waters with a lower ph. Human activities: Mining, chemical spills, thermal pollution, urban runoff, sewage effluent, agricultural runoff, and coal-fired power plant/automobile emissions (react with water vapor in the air to form nitric and sulfuric acid and then returns to earth as acid precipitation This acidic precipitation can adversely affect the ph of aquatic ecosystems.). Most organisms are adapted to a specific ph level. When ph increases or decreases, the diversity of an ecosystem can be changed appreciably. Maintaining a healthy balance of ph is important for stream health, aquatic organism health, and human health. Fish and other aquatic organisms are sensitive to ph (can tolerate water between 4.5 and 9.5 ph). ACIDIC NEUTRAL BASIC more H+ ions H+ ions = OH ions more OH ions battery acid vinegar coffee distilled water hand soap ammonia bleach lye

6 Water Quality and Phosphate Phosphates are found in the mineral apatite, which occurs naturally in rocks. Rocks with a high concentration of apatite are often referred to as phosphate rocks. In the USA, there are major phosphate rock deposits in Florida, Idaho, Montana, and Tennessee. However, more than half of the phosphates found in lakes, streams, and rivers are the result of human activity. Discharge of animal and human wastes, industrial and domestic wastes, and fertilizers introduces phosphates into natural waters, as does increased soil erosion from the removal of vegetation. One of the major impacts of unnatural amounts of phosphates in our system is their eventual contamination of our waters. There they lead to excessive aquatic plant and algal growth, often at the expense of other organisms. Nutrients are added to aquatic systems via fertilizers from lawns and crops, wastewater treatment plant effluent, increased sedimentation from land use changes, and animal waste. Fortunately, there are several ways that humans can reduce the contribution of phosphates to the environment: 1. Reduce use of lawn fertilizers 2. Encourage better farming practices 3. Preserve natural vegetations 4. Support measures to develop phosphorus-removal technology for wastewater treatment plants and septic systems 5. Require particular industries to pretreat waste before sending it to a wastewater treatment plant. Water Quality and Nitrate The increase in nitrates due to human action has caused an increase in health-related disorders in human and aquatic organisms. When humans consume nitrates leached into drinking water sources, a serous condition called methemoglobinemia can develop. Nitrate changes to nitrite in the digestive system and then the nitrite oxidizes the iron in the hemoglobin of red blood cells to form methemoglobin. Methemoglobin is unable to carry oxygen like hemoglobin; therefore cells do not receive their required oxygen. This lack of oxygen cases veins and skin to appear blue ( blue baby syndrome babies, pregnant women, and elderly people are most susceptible to this condition). Fortunately, there are several ways that humans can reduce the contribution of nitrates to the environment: 1. The best remedy is to properly follow fertilizer application instructions and apply on the amounts needed. Fertilizers are easily carried via water, either from irrigation water leaching into the ground water or from runoff entering the natural system. 2. Wetlands and riparian areas can also help slow fertilizers from leaching into ground water. 3. Water treatment plants can apply certain techniques to reduce nitrate concentrations in source water.

7 Name Date Period Temperature-Dissolved Oxygen Levels Temperature Dissolved Oxygen (ppm) 32 F /0 C F /~5 C F /10 C F /~16 C F /21 C 9 80 F /~27 C 8 90 F /32 C 7 Directions: Use the data table above to create a graph that shows the relationship between the temperature of the water and the dissolved oxygen levels. Label the X-axis and Y-axis with appropriate titles. Be sure to indicate if you ve used Farenheit or Celsius.

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