Why Stormwater is a Problem

WaterDropGoal: Build understanding about the variety of causes and effects of stormwater related pollution in our region.

Objectives: Students will…

  • use websites to collect information about their topic,
  • take organized notes,
  • distill their findings into a 1-2 minute presentation that clearly explains their topic to the rest of the class,
  • listen for understanding to their classmates’ presentations.

Materials: student access to internet during class or at home, website list provided in Stormwater Research handout, copies of assessment.

Advance Preparation: copy handout, 1 per pair of students; copy assessment, one per student

Instructional Plan

Explain to class that in order to learn more about why stormwater is a problem in Cincinnati, pairs of students are going to conduct mini research projects and report their findings back to the class. Give students as much choice as appropriate in who they will work with and what topics they will research. Each topic listed below should be researched by at least one group in each class. If students have ideas for other research topics that are not listed, go for it!

Suggested research topics:

  • what kind of sewer system is used in the community
  • which sewer line school campus uses and which CSO pipe it goes to
  • health effects on humans of CSOs into streams
  • health effects on aquatic plant life of CSOs
  • health effects on aquatic animal life of CSOs
  • effects of manhole overflows
  • effects on stream ecosystems of CSOs and high runoff volume
  • what happens at the wastewater treatment plant (could be a bigger group that breaks down all of the steps in the process: screen, settling, aeration, clarification)
  • non-point source pollution: what is it, what kinds of pollutants are involved, harm they can cause

Students handouts include websites that clearly address these topics to help focus their research.

In each pair, one student should be the designated note-taker while the other researches. If research is to be done as homework, students can break up the task into different parts, each doing some of the research.

Students should determine how to share their findings quickly and effectively with the rest of the class.

Each group should give a brief, informal presentation to the class, with visuals if applicable (2 minutes per group should be plenty). The rest of the class should take notes during the presentations, which they can use to answer the questions on their individual assessment.

Click here to download PDF file.