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Water Course Overview

Discover the amazing properties of water and our role in conserving the planet's most valuable resource. The learning activities and digital resources contained within this online curriculum allow students to explore the concept of water over a five-day period. Get started today and ignite the STEM spark.


If this is your first time visiting this course, please review the Getting Started Guide:

Get Started Link

Professional Development

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Call us at 800-323-9084

Day 1 - H2O and You

Overview:

Today students will begin their journey of exploring the wonderful world of water. The focus for day one is for students to understand how important water is for human beings and all living things. They will begin by exploring how much of our bodies are comprised of water and then discover how important it is to drink water every day. Students will also start a week-long investigation that they will check on every day throughout the week. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. Students will be challenged to think about the importance of access to clean water and how it can be transported through an Engineering Challenge. In between these activities, there is a Mind Snack built in as they work to complete their Engineering Challenge. Day one wraps up with the daily STEM Camp Notebook reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.

Learning Objectives:
  • To explain the importance of water for living things
  • To determine the water composition of our bodies
  • To explore the concepts of access to and transport of water

Background

Fresh water is vital to all life on Earth. Humans, plants, and animals need it to grow and thrive. The amount of fresh water on the Earth does not change; it is constantly moving through the water cycle. That means the fresh water that is here now is essentially the same fresh water that was here millions of years ago, and it is the same water we will have in the future, which is a strong argument for preventing pollution and encouraging conservation. In the U.S., we are lucky to enjoy easy access to clean water. In other parts of the world, it is not so easy. In fact, at least 1.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

The average American uses eighty gallons of water a day. However, household water use accounts for just 8 percent of total water usage. Most fresh water used in the United States is used for industry and farming. While fresh water seems like an abundant resource, it actually represents only about 3 percent of the world’s total water supply. Of that 3 percent, much of the fresh water exists as ice in glaciers.

People use water in its various phases (solid, liquid, and gas) for many different purposes. Uses of liquid fresh water are almost endless, and include recreation, transportation, and food preparation, in addition to basic survival. Uses of ice (solid water) include cooling of food and drink (and, in the past, buildings); preservation of perishable materials; treatment of injuries; and recreation (e.g., skiing and skating). In extremely cold climates, ice can be used as insulation and even as building material. Water vapor is used in cooking (e.g., steaming vegetables); cleaning; sterilization of laboratory and medical equipment; household heating (radiators); and, perhaps most importantly, the generation of electricity.

Vocabulary:

SCHEDULE

 
Opening (30 minutes)
This time is allocated to set the stage for today’s activities, review your local summer program policies and procedures, and handle other logistics like distribution of STEM Camp Notebooks.  
 
Setting the Stage (15 minutes)
Show students an actual glass of water (or water filled bottle). Ask students if they know how long they can go without drinking water. Generate a list of the answers.

Show video segment Why Water Rocks (2:45). Tell students that today we are investigating why water is important to us, where it can be found, and how we use it.
 
Activity: You are What You Drink (45 minutes)
Break students up into groups of three. Provide students with a piece of butcher paper long enough to trace the body of a student. Have one student in each group lay on the paper so that the teammates can trace his/her body. Have that same student weigh so that the team can calculate how many pounds of water would equal 70% of the body weight. 

Provide teams with graph paper (in2 or cm2) that they can use to calculate the total area inside the body outline. The teams should then calculate 70% of that area and color in that portion of the outline.  
 
Break (15 minutes)
 
Setting the Stage (5 minutes)
Show the video segment All Living Things Need Water (1:00) to introduce the importance of drinking water everyday. Ask the students to share how much water they drink each day.
 
Students use sugar solutions of different concentrations to produce a calibration curve. Students then compare popular beverages to that curve to determine the % sugar in the beverages.
 
Cyber Investigations (15 minutes)
Navigate to this page on Fit.Webmd.com to show students a visual slide show that demonstrates the sugar content in some of their favorite soft drinks. 
 
If time permits, then navigate to this page on Fit.Webmd.com to show how soda is made and some alternatives to drinking soda. 
 
Facilitator’s note: Have students explore website on computers in small groups if possible.
 
Project Time: Water Content in Fruit (20-30 minutes)
Today you will begin a week-long project with the students that they will spend time on each day throughout the week.
 
Display a bowl of a variety of citrus fruits (e.g., oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes.) Have the class make predictions regarding the water content of each type of fruit. Provide student groups with the following materials: one piece of fruit, plastic knife, paper plate, and access to a balance or scale. Have the students slice the fruit and place the slices on the paper plate. Next, weigh the paper plate and slices, recording the weight on the plate along with the date in their science journals/notebooks. Place the paper plates in a dry, warm area such as a window sill and allow the slices to dry. This might take several days. Students should weigh the plates every day until the difference in weight is negligible. 
 
Lunch (30 minutes)
 
Recess: Water Balloon Freeze Tag (30 minutes)
Determine one student to be “it”. If the group is large, have two students be “it”. Those students who are “it” will have a water balloon. The remainder of the students will scatter until the person who is “it” yells STEM! At that time, the student who is “it” will throw the water balloon to tag the person of their choice. The new “it” then runs to pick up a new water balloon and starts a new round. 
 
STEMtastic Careers (30 minutes)
Show students the first three videos about careers in the water industry found at EPA.GOV Fresh Water Industry.  
 
Use these prompts to discuss the careers with the students: 
  • Why is the water industry considered a stable field for jobs?
  • What are the benefits of working in a water-related job?
  • What are some of the water-related jobs discussed in this video?
  • What are some of the skills you need to work in a water-related job?
 
In this challenge, students will work in teams to invent a contraption/device that can transport water from a main water supply to various distribution places in a relay race. Encourage students to use available materials creatively while budgeting their “Discovery Dollars” to purchase additional supplies to construct their device.  
 
Introduction:  Access to clean, drinking water is necessary to living things. There are times, however, that water is not going to be available and you have to carry it with you. In this challenge, teams will construct a contraption/device that will transport and distribute water over a distance.
  
  • Divide students into teams of 4.  Teams should decide on a name for their team. 
  • Explain to students that the first phase of the challenge is the design of the device.  
  • Distribute the Guidelines and Requirements to each team. 
  • Each team will be given a tool kit and will have a certain amount of “Discovery Dollars” with which to shop for supplies. 
  • Teams should plan on paper what their device will look like and how it will work.
  • Teams have the remainder of the time to construct their device.
 
Mind Snacks (20 minutes)
During your snack time, here’s a fun activity for your campers to explore. This can be done as a large group, or allow students to explore in small groups if multiple computers are available: Fish Hangman
 
Engineering Challenge Continued (30-40 minutes)
This is a relay-style game, and the winning team will be the team that completes the relay in the least amount of time.  Use the Are You Thirsty Relay diagram, to set up and explain the challenge. 
 
Game Guidelines:  
Student 1 starts at the starting line, while student 2, student 3, and student 4 stand at distances determined by the facilitator. Students 2, 3, and 4 are each holding a cup with a fill line clearly marked.
 
Each team of 4 will proceed with the relay as follows:
  • Student 1 will start off using the invention to collect water from the pitcher/bucket
  • Student 1 will then transport the water to the cup held by student  2
  • Teacher may specify distance to travel
  • Once the water level reaches the fill line, student 1 takes the cup from student 2 and gives student 2 the device.
  • Student 2 will then use the device to fill student 3’s cup, then swap with student 3.
  • Student 3 will repeat steps to fill up student 4’s cup and swap.
  • Student 4 will travel to the finish line and fill the cup at the finish line. 
 
Note:  If at any point in the relay, there is not enough water in the device to fill the cup, the person with the device must return to the bucket to get more water.
 
STEM Camp Notebook Reflection (10 minutes)
In their journals, students should answer the following questions:
  • What have you learned about how important water is to you?
  • What is your favorite water activity? How does it relate to water and you?
  • Which careers you examined today most intrigue you, and why are you interested in them?
 
Wrap Up (5 minutes)
As a precursor to Day 2, ask students to consider the following two misconceptions:  
1. Because water is a renewable resource, that means there is an unlimited supply of it, right? 
2. Is it true that water always has a freezing point of 0ºC and a boiling point of 100°C?
 
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, H2O and YOU for them to share with their parents. 
 
Dive Into Digital Project (60 minutes)
Facilitators can decide whether to include this project as part of their daily curriculum, as an optional extension or decide not to use it at all.
 

Standards Connection:

National Health Education Standards

  •     5.8.4 Distinguish between healthy and unhealthy alternatives to health-related issues or problems.
  •     8.8.2 Demonstrate healthy practices and behaviors that will maintain or improve the health of self and others.


Next Generation Science Standards - Framework

  •     ESS2.C The roles of water in Earth’s surface processes
Water cycles among land, ocean and atmosphere, and is propelled by sunlight and gravity; Density variations of sea water drive interconnected ocean currents; Water movement causes weathering and erosion, changing landscape features.
  •     LS1.C Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms
Food provides animals with the materials and energy they need for body repair, growth, warmth and motion; Plants acquire material for growth chiefly from air, water and process matter and obtain energy from sunlight, which is used to maintain conditions necessary for survival.

Materials:

STEM Camp Notebook

Setting the Stage:
  • glass of water

Activity 1: You Are What You Drink
  • butcher paper (length of students)
  • pencils
  • crayons
  • bathroom scale
  • graph paper (inch or centimeter)
  • calculators
Activity 2: How Sweet Is It?
  • 250 mL each sugar solutions: 1%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%
  • distilled water

Project: Water Content of Fruit
  • bowl with a variety of citrus fruits (e.g., lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges)
  • plastic knives
  • paper plates
  • calculator
  • balance or scale

Recess Activity
  • water balloons

Engineering Challenge:  Who’s Thirsty?

Supplies (per team)
  • sticks or dowels of various sizes
  • rubber bands of various sizes
  • balloons
  • 3 wooden rulers
  • 1/2 cup measuring cup
  • paddle ball paddles
  • baseball cap
  • empty styrofoam egg cartons
  • long tube sock
  • drinking straws
  • 3 film canisters
  • small blocks of wood
  • pool "noodle"
  • tote or container to hold these items

Tool Kit (per team)
  • duct tape
  • electric tape
  • twine/string
  • flat thumb tacks
  • screw driver
  • screws that match the driver
  • scissors
  • super glue
  • permanent marker
  • tote or container to hold these items

Are You Thirsty Relay (per team)
  • bucket/pitcher of water
  • 3 disposable plastic cups
  • device created in Who’s Thirsty?
Are you running a Discovery Education STEM Camp? If so, we've made it easy for you to obtain the materials for the hands-on activities. Contact our friends at Hand2Mind to purchase a kit for your program. Call 800-445-5985 or email info@hand2mind.com and reference Discovery Education STEM Camp.

Day 2 - Properties of Water


Overview: 

Today students will explore the amazing properties of water. The focus for day two is for students to understand the basic chemistry of water. They will begin with assessing how much they know about the properties of water and learn the basic chemistry of water with a fun camp song. Following that, they will explore properties of water during hands-on digital activities and a hands-on lab. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the STEM Career Connection. After the Mind Snack, students are challenged to build a boat that floats across a kiddie pool carrying a weight during the Engineering Challenge. Day two wraps up with the daily STEM Camp Notebook reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.

Learning Objectives:
  •   To explain the basic chemistry of water
  •   To investigate properties of water including cohesion and surface tension

Background

Cohesion: Water is attracted to water.
Adhesion: Water is attracted to other substances.

Adhesion and cohesion are water properties that affect every water molecule on earth and also the interaction of water molecules with molecules of other substances. Essentially, cohesion and adhesion are the "stickiness" that water molecules have for each other and for other substances. Water drops are composed of water molecules that like to stick together, which explains why water falls from the sky as raindrops rather than individual molecules. Rain therefore is an example of the property of cohesion. When one corner of a piece of paper towel is dipped into a glass of water the water will climb the fibers of the paper. The water molecules are attracted to the molecules of the fabric with greater force than gravity and therefore are able to climb up the paper. Therefore adhesion is when water molecules are attracted to another surface.

Surface tension is caused by the attraction of the particles at the surface layer by the quantity of the liquid. For water, surface tension happens when a water molecule is surrounded on all sides by other water molecules, which creates a sphere or ball. In the case of surface tension, cohesion is affected by the volume of water at the surface layer resulting elastic like force. The helps to explain why some small insects, like a water strider, can walk on water. In the case of a water strider the weight of the insect is less than the force necessary to penetrate the surface of the water.

Buoyancy is an upward force exerted that opposes the weight of a fully or partially immersed object. If the upward force exerted is equal to or greater than the density of the immersed object the object is deemed buoyant. This is the principle that allows large cruise ships and fishing vessels to remain afloat even though individual pieces of the vessel would sink if not part of the whole.   

Vocabulary:

SCHEDULE

 
Opening (30 minutes)
This time is allocated to set the stage for today’s activities, review your local summer program policies and procedures, and handle other logistics. Today students need to weigh their sliced fruit when they arrive and enter the data into their STEM Camp Notebooks.
 
Setting the Stage (20 minutes)
Navigate to the site http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc3.html to take this online Water Properties Quiz, serving as a pre-test for the days activities. Poll the students for each true/false question and enter the most popular answer. Upon completion select the results, display the results from the responses. Let students know you will revisit this quiz at the end of the day.
 
Activity:  Camp Song, “Little Water Molecule” (10 minutes)
Have students sing the camp song to begin to learn the properties of water. Provide students with lyrics. Ask them to highlight important vocabulary terms from the song. After the highlighting is done, have them write the words and their meaning in their STEM notebook.
 
Sung to the tune “Fill My Cup”
Lyrics by Cindy Hoffner Moss
 
REFRAIN:
Little water molecule (shooby doowah)
You sure are special to me (oh yea!)
Your H²O and hydrogen bonds
Enable all life to be.
                   
1. You dissolve ions and salts (shooby doowah)
Carry gases too (oh yea!)
Living and nonliving factors
For transport depend on you. Refrain
 
2.  You have high specific heat (shooby doowah)
Making you a heat bank (oh yea!)
For balanced body temperatures
Living organisms have you to thank. Refrain
 
3. Your heat of vaporization is high (shooby doowah)
Moderating our earth (oh yea!)
Solar heat is used to transform
Surface water into gas. Refrain
 
4.  And when you solidify (shooby doowah)
Your density will decrease (oh yea!)
Because of this pond life can survive
In wintertime before they decease. Refrain
 
5.  H to O, covalent bonds (shooby doowah)
Dipoles will create (oh yea!)
Hydrophilic substances will dissolve
Hydrophobic the water they hate. Refrain
 
6.  Water, you’re the river of life (shooby doowah)
In each and every cell (oh yea!)
You’re unique and we have a plan
All the world to tell. Refrain
 
Cyber Investigation (15 minutes)
During this investigation, students will calculate the volume of three objects by using the displacement method. Detailed instructions are provided in the Teacher’s Guide for Just Dunk It Teacher's Guide.
 
Direct students as a whole group through the Exploration Just Dunk It. Have students record the data explored on the Student’s Guide or in their STEM Camp Notebook.
 
Facilitator’s note:  Have students do the exploration on computers in pairs if possible.
 
Setting the Stage (15 minutes)
Using  a reading strategy of your choice, have students read Reading Passage - Getting to know Properties of Water noting important facts in their STEM Camp Notebooks.
 
Activity: Cohesion and Surface Tension of Water  (60 minutes)
During the Hands-On Lab: Cohesion and Surface Tension of Water, students investigate the properties of water including cohesion and surface tension of water. Detailed instructions are provided in the Teacher’s Guide for Hands-On Lab: Cohesion and Surface Tension of Water.
 
Break (15 minutes)
 
Cyber Investigation: Sea Trials (45 minutes)
This lesson allows students to design a ship that will be seaworthy. The students will explore this concept using an interactive tool that allows them to choose the shape of the hull, the lower and upper decks, and test the construction.
 
Have students working in small groups navigate to Navy STEM for the Classroom. Have them select “Interactives” then choose “Sea Trials” to begin the interactive. To conclude the activity have each group of students discuss the results of their trials. 
 
Lunch (30 minutes)
 
Recess: Water Sponge Relay  (30 minutes)
You will need two buckets filled with water, two empty jars, and two large sponges (like car wash sponges) for this game. Form two teams. Each team makes a line next to a bucket filled with water. When the game starts, have the first member of each team put the sponge in the water, put it on their head, and run towards a jar at the other end of the playing area. Squeeze the water into the jar and run back. Continue on with the rest of the players. The first team to fill the jar to overflowing wins.
 
Facilitator’s Note:  An alternative Recess game for today is Create Your own Slip and Slide.
 
STEMtastic Careers (30 minutes)
Direct students to the Science Buddies site. Instruct students to explore the careers on this site and compare and contrast in terms of salary, education, outlook and tasks performed on the job 5 of the following careers: aquacultural manager, aquarist, hydrologist, water and liquid waste treatment plant operator, chemical technician, chemist, ship and boat captain, computer software engineer, economist, remote sensing scientist, biochemical engineer, hydroelectric plant technician, materials scientist. Have students record the information in their STEM Camp Notebooks.
 
Mind Snacks (15 minutes)
During your snack time, here are a few fun activities for your campers to explore. These can be done as a large group, or allow students to explore in small groups if multiple computers are available.
Choose any of the interactives at the bottom of this Together Counts page to explore energy balance.
 
Engineering Challenge: Boat Building Challenge (75 minutes)
In the Boat Building Challenge, students will work in teams to create a boat that will float across a kiddie pool carrying a weight. Detailed instructions for the engineering challenge can be found in the Teacher’s Guide for Boat Building Challenge.
 
STEM Camp Notebook Reflection (20 minutes)
In their journals, students should answer the following questions:
  • What have you learned about the properties of water?
  • How do the properties of water impact living organisms?
  • What is your favorite water activity? How does it relate to the properties of water?
  • Which careers you examined today most intrigue you and why are you interested in them?
Wrap Up (10 minutes)
Take this online Water Properties Quiz. Poll the students for each True/False question and enter the most popular answer. Upon completion select the results, display the results from the responses.  
 
As a teaser that leads into the next day, direct students whole group through the exploration Waters of the Earth.
 
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, Properties of Water for them to share with their parents.
 
Dive Into Digital Project (60 minutes)
Facilitators can decide whether to include this project as part of their daily curriculum, as an optional extension or decide not to use it at all.
 
Standards Connection:

Next Generation Science Standards - Framework

  •    ESS2.C The roles of water in Earth’s surface processes
Water cycles among land, ocean and atmosphere, and is propelled by sunlight and gravity; Density variations of sea water drive interconnected ocean currents; Water movement causes weathering and erosion, changing landscape features.
  •     PS1.A  Structure of matter
The fact that matter is composed of atoms and molecules can be used to explain properties of substances, diversity of materials, states of matter and phase changes.
  •     PS3.C Relationship between energy and forces Goals/Objectives
When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other, and these forces can transfer energy between them.

Materials:

STEM Camp Notebook

Activity 1:  Discovery Education Hands-On Lab: Cohesion and Surface Tension

Per group:                    
  • coin (e.g., penny, dime, or nickel)                            
  • two 25 mL graduated cylinders                                
  • 200 mL beaker                            
  • 4 eyedroppers                                    
  • liquid soap or dish detergent in a small container       
  • distilled water                            
  • cooking oil                            
  • food coloring                                
  • glass stirring rod                                    
  • stopwatch or timer

Recess Activity
  • 2 large sponges (car wash sponges)
  • 2 jars
  • 2 buckets
Engineering Challenge:  Boat Building

For building the boat (per pair or group)

  • box of pencils (unsharpened)
  • large latex balloon
  • drinking straw
  • rubber band
  • disposable aluminum baking pan or pie pan
  • roll of aluminum foil
  • roll of duct tape or bottle of glue
  • 2 or 3 clothespins

Additional materials:
  • meter stick or measuring tape
  • scissors
  • 5 or 6 waterproof weights, such as sealed plastic bags containing 10 to ?20 dried beans
  • sink or bucket, filled with water
  • calculator
  • balance or scale
  • stopwatch
  • pool or tank (per class)
Are you running a Discovery Education STEM Camp? If so, we've made it easy for you to obtain the materials for the hands-on activities. Contact our friends at Hand2Mind to purchase a kit for your program. Call 800-445-5985 or email info@hand2mind.com and reference Discovery Education STEM Camp.

Day 3 - Water and Ecosystems


Overview:

Today students will understand that water is a vital, natural resource for both plant and animal survival. Students will discover that although many areas have water resources available, it does not mean the supply is unlimited. They will begin to think about the major water resources in their area as well. In the morning, they will explore water ecosystems and create a model of a watershed. For their major project of the day, they  spend part of the morning and afternoon building an Aquarium Terrarium, an aquatic/terrestrial ecosystem. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. Day three wraps up with the daily STEM Camp Notebook reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.

Learning Objectives:
  •     To identify varying water ecosystems
  •     To explain that water is a vital, natural resource
  •     To determine reasons that can stress the water supply

Background

Water ecosystems include rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, marshes, estuaries, and oceans. Marshes are sometimes referred to as wetlands. Each water ecosystem has different kinds of water. Water can be classified as fresh, salt, or brackish (both salt and fresh). The movement of the water also helps to define the water ecosystem. Some waters move in waves, other waters flow, while some do not move at all. Each water ecosystem also has different kinds of organisms that live there. These organisms are specially suited for their environment. Physical adaptations help them survive. Some also have the ability to alter their environment to meet their needs. Humans are organisms that have learned to change their environment to meet their needs. However, some of these changes come at the expense of other organisms. We are learning the importance of protecting these water ecosystems.

Vocabulary

SCHEDULE

 
Opening (30 minutes)
This time is allocated to set the stage for today’s activities, review your local summer program policies and procedures, and handle other logistics.  Students need to weigh their sliced fruit when they arrive and enter the data into their STEM Camp Notebooks.
 
Setting the Stage (30 minutes)
Use one or more of the following resources to introduce the students to different water ecosystems. Discuss similarities and differences of various ecosystems. Why are certain species more suitable for a particular ecosystem? 
Activity: Building an Aquarium Terrarium - Setting up the Aquarium (45 minutes)
In this activity, students will begin creating their aquatic/terrestrial ecosystem in the morning and then complete the activity in the afternoon. By creating an Aquarium Terrarium, students will have an opportunity to observe the interactions between soil, water, and air. They will also observe the development of aquatic and terrestrial plants, as well as exploring the components of the water cycle.
 
 
Break (15 minutes)
 
Activity:  Watersheds (45 minutes)
Have students draw three columns in their STEM Camp Notebooks labeling each column K, W, L, respectively. Ask students to write down things they know about a watershed in the K column and things they wonder about a watershed in the W column.  Instruct campers to fill in the W column with things they learn about watersheds as they do the activity.  Solicit responses from students about what they wrote in the K or W of the chart. After the discussion, play the video segment, Watersheds, Estuaries, and Wetlands, pause and play in appropriate places as a result of earlier discussion allowing students to add facts to their L column.  Then have students write a definition of watersheds in their own words in their STEM Camp Notebooks, asking them to include examples and nonexamples.  
 
Have students read, We All Live Downstream. Consider introducing one of these reading strategies to support comprehension.  Encourage students to revise their definition of watershed in their STEM Camp Notebooks and also include their answers to the question:  What does the saying “We all live downstream” mean to you?
 
Follow up by playing the video segment Water Pollution (5:32), pausing at critical points and prompting students to answer questions about the main ideas.
 
Activity: It’s All Downstream (45 minutes)
In this activity, students will create a model of a watershed that includes Chesapeake Bay. They will then simulate the introduction of pollutants somewhere in the watershed and observe how pollutants can travel downstream and affect many different water resources. Detailed instructions are provided in Hands-on Activity: It’s All Downstream.
 
Lunch (30 minutes)
 
Recess: The Great Jungle Fire (30 minutes)
Set the scene for the students: The jungle is on fire, and the animals must keep themselves wet to avoid being burned.
 
This is a relay race. You need a bucket of water and a cup per team. Set the water bucket and the cup about 15-20 yards away from each team. Provide each team with this list of animals:
  • gorilla
  • bat
  • leopard
  • snake
  • kangaroo
 
The first person to run must run like a gorilla, the second pretends to fly like a bat and so on. Gorillas must run with their arms and legs held out awkwardly away from their body. 
Bats must flap their arms wildly. 
Leopards must run on all fours. 
Snakes must get on their elbows and knees. 
Kangaroos must hop. 
Once 5 people have run, the 6th person will start the list again as a gorilla, the 7th will be a bat and so on. Once they reach the water bucket they must fill up the cup with water and pour it over themselves. Game ends when the teams have been through twice. The very last person must pick up the bucket and dump the remaining water on his/her head. (Note: Game directions are from http://www.ultimatecampresource.com)
 
STEMtastic Careers (30 minutes)
During today’s STEMtastic Careers, environmental scientists are the focus.  Environmental scientists identify pollution and other environmental problems and design solutions. They figure out what is in the air, water, and soil to make sure that the environment is safe and minimize hazards to the health of the environment and population. Have students use the following resources to learn more information about this career path: Environmental Scientist on onetonline.com and Environmental Scientist on sciencebuddies.org.
 
Activity: Building an Aquarium Terrarium - Assembly (45-60 minutes)
In this activity, students will finish creating their aquatic/terrestrial ecosystem they started making in the morning.  Show the video segment Part 2: Assembly again if needed to assist students with assembly.
 
Mind Snacks (15 minutes)
During your snack time, here is a fun activity for your campers to explore. These can be done as a large group, or allow students to explore in small groups if multiple computers are available.
 
Cyber Investigation: Acid Lake (30 minutes)
In this virtual fishing investigation, students explore the pH level of a lake and the impact this has on living creatures within the ecosystem.
 
Have students working in small groups to explore the site.  Discuss what factors may increase or decrease the pH levels within the students' aquarium terrariums. 
 
STEM Camp Notebook Reflection (10 minutes)
In their journals have students answer one of the following:
  • Describe a favorite memory involving water.
  • What is one way you can protect a local water ecosystem?
  • Give thoughts on becoming an environmental scientist. What is one problem that you may encounter and what are some possible solutions that you would want to try?
Wrap Up (5 minutes)
As a teaser that leads into the next day, direct students whole group through the Skill Builder: Ground Water.
 
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, Water in Ecosystems for them to share with their parents.
 
Dive Into Digital Project (60 minutes)
Facilitators can decide whether to include this project as part of their daily curriculum, as an optional extension or decide not to use it at all.

Standards Connection:

Next Generation Science Standards - Framework

  •     LS2.C Ecosystem dynamics, functioning, and resilience
Ecosystem characteristics vary over time and can lead to shifts in all of its populations; The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health.
  •     ESS3.A Natural resources
Humans depend on Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere and biosphere for different resources, many of which are limited or not renewable; Resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes.
 


Materials:

STEM Camp Notebook

Activity 1:  Building an Aquarium - Setting up the Aquarium

Per each group of students:
  • two 2-liter bottles
  • scissors
  • a sample of local water (3-4 cups)
  • drill
  • cotton string (10-12 inches)
  • small stones (2 cups)
  • a sample of local soil (3-4 cups)
  • marker
  • at least two different types of seeds (e.g., grass, lettuce, radishes, beans)
  • a floating water plant

Activity 2:  It’s All Downstream                      

Per each group of students:   
  • at least eight feet of aluminum foil
  • medium-sized hardcover book
  • cooking oil
  • food coloring
  • 2 cups of water
  • large cookie sheet (or other similar-sized flat and rigid material)
  • map of Virginia with watersheds clearly delineated
  • modeling clay                 

Recess Activity
  • 1 bucket of water (per team)
  • 1 cup (per team)
Are you running a Discovery Education STEM Camp? If so, we've made it easy for you to obtain the materials for the hands-on activities. Contact our friends at Hand2Mind to purchase a kit for your program. Call 800-445-5985 or email info@hand2mind.com and reference Discovery Education STEM Camp.

Day 4 - Water as an Energy Source


Overview:

Today students will learn that beyond the obvious need of water by living things, we depend on water for many industrial processes. They will begin by exploring the hydrological cycle, nature’s way of recycling water. Then students will investigate water as an energy source as well as how water impacts the environment and vice-versa. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. In their Engineering Challenge, students work in teams to create a water turbine that creates enough electricity to power a light bulb. Day four wraps up with the daily STEM Camp Notebook Reflection activity. The “Dive into Digital” project is also provided as an option for facilitators to include.

Learning Objectives:
  •     To explain how water is used to create electricity
  •     To determine nature’s way of recycling, i.e., hydrological cycle
  •     To explore water effects on the environment and environmental effects on water

Background

Hydropower is the force or energy of moving water. It has been transformed to mechanical energy for centuries. Water wheels have historically been used to power mills for processing grains, lumber, and mineral ore, among many other things. Now, moving water is used to power turbines, which spin generators to produce electricity. How much electricity is produced depends on the available hydropower. In most cases, hydropower comes from the potential energy of water collected behind dams. The greater the volume or water behind a dam, and the greater the height difference between the intake (above the dam) and outtake (below the dam) of water, the greater the hydropower available. Waterwheels at the bases of dams are spun by the force of the water falling over the dam, or through pipes.

Hydroelectricity is considered clean energy because it does not produce any harmful emissions such as greenhouse gases. Hydroelectricity is the most commonly used form of renewable energy in the world. However, hydroelectric power has its drawbacks as well. Dam failures have killed thousands of people in catastrophic floods. Dams also have a huge impact on the environment both upstream and downstream of the dam. Large reservoirs form upstream of the dam, and people and cities must be relocated out of the area of flooding. Upstream flooding also destroys and divides habitats. Dams create obstacles for fish such as salmon that must swim upstream to spawn. Dams also trap sediment, which piles up behind the dam and reduces the amount of water that can be stored. Water emerging from a hydroelectric dam may also be warmer than the normal temperature of the river. This can lead to changes for the plants and animals that live below the dam, as well as changing the ability of the river to freeze during winter.

Vocabulary

SCHEDULE

 
Opening (30 minutes)
This time is allocated to set the stage for today’s activities, review your local summer program policies and procedures, and handle other logistics. Students need to weigh their sliced fruit when they arrive and enter the data into their STEM Camp Notebooks.
 
Activity: Well in a Cup (60 mins)
In this activity, students will build a well and pump water from it to visualize well depletion.  Activate prior knowledge and review with students that there is a very limited supply of freshwater on Earth.  97% of the water on our planet is salty and more than 2% of the remaining water is locked in ice and glaciers. The <1% left includes lakes, streams, rivers and aquifers.  Beyond the obvious need of water by living things, we depend on water for many industrial processes. Wells are drilled to pump water from the aquifer.  The conservation of water is needed to minimize waste and allow for water sources to recharge by means of the “Hydrological Cycle”, nature’s way of recycling water.  Pollution can enter this system at multiple points. Industrial, agricultural, or domestic sources can contaminate well water.  

Procedure: Construct, Recharge, and Discharge
  1. Wrap the window screen around the pencil to form a 3-inch length screen tube.
  2. Place the screen tube with the pencil in the center of the plastic cup.  While holding it upright, pour the gravel around the outside of the screen tube approximately ¼ inch from the top of the screen tube.  Avoid getting gravel into the screen tube, and carefully remove the pencil.
  3. Pour water on the surface of the gravel (simulating rain) until the cup is filled almost to the top of the gravel.  (Water colored with food coloring helps make this easier to see but plain water works fine.)  Water soaking from the surface into the aquifer is called groundwater recharge.
  4. Pump the well using an eyedropper, pipette or syringe.  A syringe works faster and is better for large group.  Keep pumping the well until you can’t pump much water.  Notice that each time you pump, you get less water.  Note that we can’t keep taking water out of the aquifer if it is not replaced.
  5. Pour water on the surface again.  Once the aquifer is recharged, show that it is easier to pump the well again.
Extension: Demonstrating nitrate contamination (groundwater quality)
  1. Sprinkle colored powdered drink mix on the surface on the gravel.  Note that you are simulating that this is fertilizer and that it is the same whether you are fertilizing a lawn or a cornfield.  Emphasize that you are using much more fertilizer than the directions call for.
  2. Pour plain water (no food coloring) on the surface of the gravel until the cup is filled almost to the top of the gravel.
 
Setting the Stage (15 Minutes)
Using the video segment  Hydroelectric (4:17) students will look for three truths and a lie.  Provide the 4 statements below to the students: three truths and one lie.  Instruct students to say stop when they hear or see any truth or the lie.  Play the video, being prepared to stop/pause the video when students shout “stop!”  When prompted to stop, ask students to not only identify the truth or lie, but provide evidence from the video segment.
 
Truth 1: People have depended on the power of water for a millennia.
Truth 2: The water wheel converts the energy of water into mechanical energy.
Truth 3: The three gorges dam will be able to generate 18,000 megawatts
Lie: The water behind a dam has tremendous mechanical energy
 
Cyber Investigation:  Water Power (30 minutes)
During this exploration, students will observe how varying the distance that water falls and the volume of water impacts the amount of electricity produced by hydroelectric power.  

Detailed instructions are provided in the Teacher’s Guide for Water Power Teacher's Guide.  Direct students whole group through the Exploration Water Power have students record the data explored on the Student’s Guide or in their STEM Camp Notebook.
 
Using the Reading Passage: Hydropower have students write about the advantages and disadvantages of using hydropower, citing evidence from the reading passage to support their claims.  
 
Pose the question to students “How do we benefit from our water resources?” 
 
Activity: Water Power (45 minutes)
During the Hands-On Activity: Water Power, students will use plastic containers and a graduated cylinder to test the effects of erosion by water and gravity. Detailed instructions are provided in the Teacher’s Guide, Hands-On Activity: Water Power Teacher’s Guide.
 
Break (15 minutes)
 
Cyber Investigation: Do Re Meanders Virtual Lab (30 minutes)
In Do Re Meanders Virtual Lab, students investigate the effects of different environmental factors on the shape of a stream channel over time. The lab encourages learners to think about the life cycle of streams and can serve as a springboard for a discussion of erosion, deposition, and civil engineering.  Detailed instructions are provided in the Teacher’s Guide, Do Re Meanders Virtual Lab Teacher's Guide
 
Lunch (30 minutes)
 
Recess: Water Obstacle Course (30 minutes)
Divide group into teams with four players per team.  Each team starts with four empty cups. When the whistle goes they must fill the cups with water and navigate an obstacle course as fast as possible while trying not to spill anything.
 
Once a team completes the course they must put the water in the bucket, and the timer is stopped. A combination of the timer and the amount of water left will determine the winning group.
 
Obstacle course ideas:
  • stilts
  • pushing one member on a bike
  • going under a blanket or canvas
  • kicking a soccer ball around cones
  • going through hoops
  • walking a rope or plank
  • piggy backing each other
  • putting down water and shooting a ball into a hoop (every player)
  • walking backwards
  • balancing the cups in some way
  • changing cups half way through the game

NOTE: Avoid causing teams to have a lengthy wait-time by keeping the obstacle course relatively short.
 
STEMtastic Careers (30 minutes)
Today the featured STEMtastic Career is a Water Resource Specialists.  Have student read and analyze the career description of a water resources specialists.   After the reading, facilitate a Think-Pair-Share and a whole group share using the following suggested questions.
  • What information interested you about this career? Why did it interest you?
  • What tools and technology does a water resource specialist use? How could these tools and technologies important to their job?
  • What skills, knowledge and abilities do you need to perform this job? Where their any skills, knowledge and abilities that surprised you?
  • What type of education do you need for this job? How is education and training important to having a successful career?
  • What other information about water resource specialists did you find surprising or interesting?
 
Engineering Challenge: Hydropower Challenge (45 minutes)
This will be a challenge for teams to create water turbine blades to create enough electricity to power a light bulb.
 
Choose one of the hands-on activities, Modeling a Water Turbine or Waterwheel for modeling a water turbine and/or waterwheel. You will demonstrate it to the students.  The students will NOT do the activity at this time.  
 
Show the following videos to help explain electricity, circuits and current.
 
Have students write the answers to these questions in their STEM Camp Notebooks
  • What is electricity?
  • What is a circuit?
  • What is the difference between AC and DC?
 
Guidelines:
The teams will create turbine blades to attach to a DC motor. A simple circuit will be created using the DC motor with the created blades along with a light bulb. The motor blades will be held under a stream of water to turn the blades. The goal of the engineering project is for each team to turn on a light bulb. The instructor can measure the amount of energy created by the turbine using a multimeter. 
 
Build:
The turbine blades will turn after water strikes them. The blades will spin the turbine shaft which will create electrical energy to power a light bulb.  You should be looking for a fan-like set of blades that can catch or be able to be pushed by water. It is important that the teams design the blades to turn in the appropriate direction for the DC motor. Direct current motors can only turn clockwise. 
 
Test: 
Each group may test their blades as they are building to improve their designs before the final test. This follows the engineering design process. The final test will have each team test their blades formally to see if the light bulb is powered. The instructor will use the multimeter to see the amount of energy created by the turbine. 
 
Facilitator Resources:
 
Extension:
Instructors may incorporate a math aspect by introducing students to Ohm's Law by using the multimeter to calculate the current by using the following equation I=V*R. In the equation, current is represented by I, voltage is represented by V and resistance is represented by R. The use of the multimeter can be used to find the voltage and the resistance to be used for the calculation. Please ready the directions that come along with the multimeter and visit this link for more information.  Here is more information on Ohm's Law.
 
Mind Snacks:  (15 minutes)
During your snack time, here’s a fun activity for your campers to explore. This can be done as a large group, or allow students to explore in small groups if multiple computers are available. Getting Connected Virtual Lab
 
Engineering Challenge Continued (30 minutes)
Have students continue working on the Engineering Challenge.
 
STEM Camp Notebook Reflection (10 minutes)
Have students write their response to the following:
Water is essential in many processes on earth.  Your ability to access freshwater impacts your quality of life.  
  • Identify at least three ways you are dependent on freshwater. 
  • Explain what would happen if you had limited access to freshwater for one of those ways you identified. 
  • What can you do to help ensure access to freshwater for years to come?
 
Wrap Up (5 minutes)
As a teaser for tomorrow, play Lodge McCammon: The Shallows.  
Provide student with lyrics from the Lodge McCammon - The Shallows Teacher's Guide and inform them that during tomorrow afternoon they will doing an activity with the song.
 
Provide students with today’s Newsletter, Water as an Energy Source for them to share with their parents.
 
Dive Into Digital Project (60 minutes)
Facilitators can decide whether to include this project as part of their daily curriculum, as an optional extension or decide not to use it at all.
 
 

Standards Connection:

Next Generation Science Standards - Framework


  •     LS1.C Organization for matter and energy flow in organisms
Food provides animals with the materials and energy they need for body repair, growth, warmth and motion; Plants acquire material for growth chiefly from air, water and process matter and obtain energy from sunlight, which is used to maintain conditions necessary for survival.
  •     PS3.C
Relationship between energy and forces

When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other, and these forces can transfer energy between them.
  •     PS3.D
Energy in chemical processes and everyday life

Sunlight is captured by plants and used in a reaction to produce sugar molecules, which can be reversed by burning those molecules to release energy. Mechanical efficiency can be increased through reduction of friction.


Materials

STEM Camp Notebook

Activity 1: Well In A Cup
  • one 10 ounce clear, flexible plastic cup (i.e., Solo TP10)
  • lid for cup (i.e., Solo 600)
  • wooden pencil
  • 2x3 inch piece of window screen (metal)
  • pea-sized gravel (i.e., aquarium gravel)
  • water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • colored powder drink mix (optional)

Activity 2:  Water Power

For each group:  
  • 4 plastic containers
  • laboratory aprons
  • sand (enough to half-fill the bowls)
  • beaker
  • graduated cylinder
  • tap water
  • meter stick or metric ruler
  • metric tape measure
  • funnel
  • digital or video camera

Recess Activity
  • 1 bucket and 4 cups per team
  • whistle
  • any obstacle you can find

Engineering Challenge: Hydropower Challenge
  • 3 hot glue guns
  • 100 pack hot glue sticks
  • 5 rolls of tape
  • 1 pair of  scissors per group
  • 1 DC motor per group
  • 2 wires with alligator clips per group
  • 1 light bulb per group
  • 1 light bulb socket per group
  • multimeter
  • variety of general materials for building blades or wheel (such as plastic cups, styrofoam, popsicle sticks, manila folders, etc.)
Are you running a Discovery Education STEM Camp? If so, we've made it easy for you to obtain the materials for the hands-on activities. Contact our friends at Hand2Mind to purchase a kit for your program. Call 800-445-5985 or email info@hand2mind.com and reference Discovery Education STEM Camp.

Day 5 - Your Effect on Water



Overview:

Today students will conclude their week long journey of exploring the wonderful world of water! Today’s focus is about the importance of fresh water, acid rain, and ways that we can improve polluted groundwater. They will begin with constructing a model representing how human activity effects the watershed. Then students will explore human impact on water quality with hands-on activities and digital media resources. A fun, thematic recess activity is suggested followed by the daily STEM Career Connection. They round out their day completing their week long project and their daily STEM Camp Notebook Reflection activity. Day five wraps up with a STEM Showcase as a culminating event to celebrate their student work.

Learning Objectives:
  •     To explain the effects of pollution on the water supply
  •     To explore ways humans impact the water supply
  •     To determine ways to conserve water

Background

Humans live in the midst of many ecosystems, yet often behave as though their activities have no effect on these systems. Humans are very much connected to the natural world around them and are ultimately affected by every action they take that harms their environment. The harm may not be immediate in space or time, but hurting the environment will result in harmful consequences for humans at some point in the longer term. This is because all organisms—including humans—are interconnected. Anything that destroys the survivability of one organism in an ecosystem also threatens the other organisms in that ecosystem.

Pollutants can have drastic effects on ecosystems, and often it is the substances people find useful, such as fertilizers, that wreak the most havoc on the natural environment. Toxic substances, such as pesticides and oil spills, are well known as pollutants, and the harm they cause is well understood. Yet humans do not always consider the effect of residential and agricultural fertilizer runoff on local lakes and streams. Even the products used on lawns can negatively impact the environment. Excess fertilizer, washed into storm drains and carried to local lakes, can cause an overproduction of plant life, unbalancing the aquatic ecosystem and endangering its creatures.

Vocabulary

SCHEDULE

 
Opening (30 minutes)
This time is allocated to set the stage for today’s activities, review your local summer program policies and procedures, and handle other logistics. Students need to weigh their sliced fruit when they arrive and enter the data into their STEM Camp Notebooks.
 
Setting the Stage:  Water Contamination Demonstration (30 minutes)
 
Label each of the water bottles with a numeral one through seven. Remove an appropriate amount of water from each of the bottles to add a contaminant (e.g.,  add aquarium gravel to bottle 1, add motor oil to bottle 2). Then recap the bottle tightly.
 
Pass the bottles around the class and ask students to try to figure out which bottles have contaminants in the water. Students will usually identify the bottles with large pieces of contaminants and that have a color change as the unsafe bottles. Explain to students that ALL the bottles have contaminants, and that today we are going to look at how humans can directly affect our water supply.
 
 
Cyber Investigation & Activity: Effects of Pollution on the Water Supply (60 minutes)
 
In this activity students will construct a model representing how human activity affects the watershed. Students will first view video segments in order to gain the background information needed to construct their models. Before students watch the video have them create a T-chart. Have them label the left hand side of the chart, “Effects of Human Activity on Watershed” and the right-hand side of the chart “Possible Consequences.”
 
As the students watch the videos they should be looking for evidence that shows how human activity can affect the water supply locally, regionally, nationally and/or globally. Have students watch the video clips Source of Life: Water in Our Environment, Disaster in the Gulf, A Race against Time, and Our Wondrous Oceans: Planet Water. As students watch the video segments have them complete their T-charts.
 
After watching the video segments, have students work in pairs to create a model to show the effects of human activity on a watershed. In order to construct their model, students will use their T-charts and the materials in the list above to develop two models. After they have created their models, students present their models to the class in an adapted gallery walk.  One student of each pair will stay by their model and present/explain their team’s model to other students who walk around. After 5 minutes, students will switch positions with their partners.
 
Video Links:
4 Clips from Source of Life: Water in Our Environment
 3 Clips from Disaster in the Gulf: A Race Against Time
 1 Clip from Our Wondrous Oceans: Planet Water
 
Setting the Stage:  Human Impact on Water Quality (10 minutes)
Begin the discussion with the following question: How do human activities impact the water supply? Students will bring up concepts that they have learned during the week.  Sometimes we do not think about what we pour down the sink or street grates. Pouring oil or chemicals in a drain on the street will ultimately impact our freshwater resources. The chemicals in the air from automobile emissions and industry also impact our water supply by polluting our water cycle. 
 
Use the following video segments to support the discussion: 
 
Activity: Observing the Influence of Acid Rain on Plant Growth (45 minutes)
In this experiment, students will simulate the effects of acid rain on plants. Detailed instructions are provided at Acid Rain Experiment from EPA.
 
Break (15 minutes)
 
Cyber Investigation: Water Pollution Paperslides (50 minutes)
Use one or more of the videos from the Cyber Investigation & Activity above as a reference.  Challenge students to create a storyboard for a video that will demonstrate their understanding of water pollution.  Have them use the Summary Frames document to map out a story. 
 
In groups of two or three, students should create a paper slide video based on their summary frames. Students will use blank white paper and sketch a drawing for each summary frame. Emphasis should be placed on sketching and not creating artistic masterpieces. Students then will practice moving the slides with timing to the audio of the interactive video. Finally students will use phone cameras or video cameras to record a paper slide video. 
 
See the Paperslide Wiki for additional directions and examples. 
 
Lunch (30 minutes)
 
Recess: Water Balloon Battleship (30 minutes)
Place students in teams of 5.  Have each team set up their three garbage bins across from the launch area in the field. Each team takes a turn launching a water balloon at opponents bins to knock them out of the game. When all of a teams bins have been hit, they are out of the game. The last team with bins left wins. 
 
STEMtastic Careers (30 minutes)
Today’s career paths focus on pollution control careers. Have student read the job description and skills needed to succeed for Environmental Science and Protection Technicians.
 
Project:  Fruit and Veggies Long Term Project (15 minutes)
Have students weigh their plates for the final time and record the data in their journals. Students then will calculate the amount of water in each fruit by percentage and amount. 
 
Health conscious people generally tell us that we should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day or 64oz of water a day. If you eat a healthy diet, about 20 percent of your water may come from the foods you eat. Calculate how much of your daily water can come from these fruits and vegetables. What percentage of your daily servings can come from them as well?
 
Activity:  The Shallows (45 minutes)
In this activity, students will develop movements that will coordinate with the song The Shallows by Lodge McCammon. Using the kinesthetic lectures students will practice their movements and get prepared to present to parents that afternoon. 

Have students listen to the song while reading the lyrics. Repeat as necessary. Then review the Kinesthetic Lectures associated with the song as a whole class in order to learn the content. Here is the full video for your reference. Break the class into five small groups, one group for each part of the song. Have each group perfect their part of the song using the following Kinesthetic Lectures as a guide.

Verse 1
Chorus
Verse 2
Bridge
Verse 3

Students are strongly encouraged to be creative by adding to or changing their section of the song using different movements or props that further illustrate the song’s content.

Film it in one-take. Final videos should avoid transitions, digital effects, or editing in order to focus on the content the students have learned.  Please make sure you have the appropriate permissions for all students who will appear on camera.
 
Mind Snacks: (15 minutes)
During your snack time, here’s a fun activity for your campers to explore. This can be done as a large group, or allow students to explore in small groups if multiple computers are available: Fishmatch
 
Dive Into Digital Project (30 minutes)
Facilitators can decide whether to include this project as part of their daily curriculum, as an optional extension or decide not to use it at all. Dive into Digital Project.
 
STEMtastic Friday Celebration Preparation (30 minutes)
Set up and collect artifacts for the STEM Showcase. Practice choreography to The Shallows song. 

You can have students showcase some or all of the following artifacts from the week:
Day 1 - butcher paper bodies
Day 2 - video of students singing Little Water Molecule song 
Day 3 - terra aqua columns
Day 4 - water turbine
Dive Into Digital Project 
 
STEM Camp Notebook Reflection (30 minutes)
In their notebooks students should answer the following questions:
  • How will you use your knowledge about water to make a difference in your home? School? Community?
 
STEMtastic Friday Celebration with Parents (60 minutes)
  • The Shallows song
  • Showcase challenge artifacts (e.g., butcher paper bodies, video of students singing Little Water Molecule song, terra aqua columns, water turbine)
  • Certificate

Provide student's with today's newsletter.

Standards Connection:

Next Generation Science Standards - Framework


  •     LS2.C
Ecosystem dynamics, functioning, and resilience

Ecosystem characteristics vary over time and can lead to shifts in all of its populations; The completeness or integrity of an ecosystem’s biodiversity is often used as a measure of its health.
  •     ESS3.C Human impacts on Earth systems
Human activities have altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging it, although changes to environments can have different impacts for different living things; Activities and technologies can be engineered to reduce people’s impacts on Earth


Materials

STEM Camp Notebook

Activity 1: Well In A Cup
  • one 10 ounce clear, flexible plastic cup (i.e., Solo TP10)
  • lid for cup (i.e., Solo 600)
  • wooden pencil
  • 2x3 inch piece of window screen (metal)
  • pea-sized gravel (i.e., aquarium gravel)
  • water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • colored powder drink mix (optional)

Activity 2:  Water Power

For each group:

4 plastic containers
  • laboratory aprons
  • sand (enough to half-fill the bowls)
  • beaker
  • graduated cylinder
  • tap water
  • meter stick or metric ruler
  • metric tape measure
  • funnel
  • digital or video camera

Recess Activity
  • 1 bucket and 4 cups per team
  • whistle
  • any obstacle you can find

Engineering Challenge: Hydropower Challenge
  • 3 hot glue guns
  • 100 pack hot glue sticks
  • 5 rolls of tape
  • 1 pair of  scissors per group
  • 1 DC motor per group
  • 2 wires with alligator clips per group
  • 1 light bulb per group
  • 1 light bulb socket per group
  • multimeter
  • variety of general materials for building blades or wheel (such as plastic cups, styrofoam, popsicle sticks, manila folders, etc.)
Are you running a Discovery Education STEM Camp? If so, we've made it easy for you to obtain the materials for the hands-on activities. Contact our friends at Hand2Mind to purchase a kit for your program. Call 800-445-5985, or email info@hand2mind.com and reference Discovery Education STEM Camp.

Introduction

Welcome to Discovery Education’s STEM Camp – After School with a focus on Water! During this course, students will engage in many opportunities where they will explore the importance of water to people and other organisms, some of the unique properties of water, how water shapes the Earth, how water can be used to make our lives safer and easier, and how people use and manage water.
There are five modules in this course, each of which includes facilitator’s notes, appropriate Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), inquiry-based activities from which to choose, and suggested projects and journal reflections for students.

 

 

Notes

  • Each student should have a STEM Journal to use for all of their activities.

  • Safety procedures should be reviewed at the beginning of the course and before each activity as necessary.

  • Students could get messy and wet! Ask them to wear appropriate clothes, and bring an extra shirt and pants to change into if necessary.

  • A number of activities last more than one day.  Secure a location to store long-term experiments.

  • Some activities will be conducted outside.

  • Every module includes some inquiry activities done using technology.

 

 

Scientific Inquiry

The goal of Discovery’s STEM Camp is to build a love of inquiry, so there is no expectation of detailed written analysis or assessment in the activities.  Understanding can be built through a multitude of experiences along with rich and stimulating discussions about science concepts and practices.

 

We have provided some suggestions for guiding student thinking, but not step-by-step instructions. However, to make the modules even more effective, we suggest the following:

 

  • Data should be student-driven. Students should determine on their own what data they need to collect, how to organize it, and how to perform calculations.

  • Leave design to the students. Students should be encouraged to design the activity or parts of the activity, or to modify the activity rather than having a facilitator tell them exactly what to do, in order to engage students in the engineering design process.

  • Encourage students to use evidence. Ask students to use evidence, experience, and logical reasoning to come up with explanations on their own first before revealing any information.

  • Encourage questions. Students should feel safe to ask questions, figure out ways to answer their questions, identify problems, and pose solutions to problems.

  • Foster connections. Help students to connect concepts and activities to things they are doing in school, to everyday life, or to current events.

 

 

Background Information

We recognize that each camp facilitator has different background knowledge. We have included some background information with each activity, along with Web links to additional information related to the module. For general information on water properties, water sources, and uses of water, we suggest the following sites:

 

  • The United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) water site: water.usgs.gov/edu/index.html

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): http://www.education.noaa.gov

 

Appropriate core ideas and scientific and engineering practices from the Next Generation Science Standards are listed for each module.

 

 

Activity Safety

While the activities in STEM Camp Water are relatively safe, as with any type of inquiry experience, it is important that camp facilitators and students always take proper safety precautions.

  • Identify any students with allergies or medical concerns.

  • Students and facilitators should wash their hands at the end of every activity.

  • As with any inquiry experience, students and facilitators should never put anything in their mouths, including their hands, unless the directions explicitly say that it is okay to do this.

  • Caution should be taken around water of varying temperatures to avoid burns.

  • Be aware of possible slippery floors when water may be spilled. Keep a towel or mop handy.