Summer Research Program for Science Teachers


William Dugan

The High School for Math Science and Engineering @ CCNY


August 2004



Testing water quality in the laboratory and the field II



Preparation for report on local bodies of water.


Do Now:    What is the nearest body of water to your house?

Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Sheepshead Bay, Long Island Sound, Fresh Kills, Newtown Creek, Gravesend Bay, Jamaica Bay, Harlem River, Pelham Bay, Gowanus Canal

                        Who is responsible for protecting and testing this water?

                DEP, Community Groups, Private Companies,

                        How can you find out about previous water quality tests in your neighborhood?

                Library, Internet, Contact Local Community Groups



Have the students look at a map of New York City.

Separate the students into groups by geographic location.  Ask the students to find the nearest body of water to their house.  Ask the students how they would find information about the body of water closest to their home.  Allow the students to look up information on the Internet.  (If students have difficulties suggest a google search for the name of the waterway.  Give the students the name of some local community groups and organization that are interested in water quality.)

 (National Science Educational Teaching Standard A Develop a framework of yearlong and short-term goals for students)

(NSETS B - Focus and support inquires while interacting with students.)

(NSETS D - Make the available science tools, materials, media, and technological resources accessible to students)


Discuss with students the information they found.  Ask the groups to list the Internet sites they found on the Blackboard.  Encourage groups that had difficulties to try these sites.  Discuss with the students how else they might find information.


Ask the students what organisms live in the ecosystem they are investigating.  Ask them what industries impact water quality in their area and how.  Ask them what they can do to improve water quality in their neighborhood.  Ask the students if they could test water quality themselves.  What information would they need to answer this question?

(National Science Education Teaching Standard B - Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas)

(National Science Education Content Standard F - Science in Personal and Social Perspective)



Inform the students they have two weeks to write a paper on water quality in their neighborhood.  They may work with a partner but they must write individual reports.  The paper must include the sources of their information, the history of the body of water they are studying, and results from field tests they have conducted.  It should also include suggestions on how they can help improve water quality in the body of water they are investigating.


(NSES D Structure the time available so that students are able to engage in extended investigation)




If there is time remaining allow the students to continue looking for information on the Internet.


Return to Environmental Sciences Lesson Plan Menu