Environmental Protection Agency Narragansett Bay Commission University of Rhode Island Office of Marine Programs

Teacher Resources


Policy & Management Activities



"Water Pollution: What Can We Do?"
Level: Elementary, Middle School, High School
This activity shows how limited Earth's supply of fresh water is and how easily water can become polluted. An analogy, where an apple represents the Earth, demonstrates the amount of fresh water on our planet. The main activity involves the students in role playing. The teacher reads a story about water pollution in a lake and twelve students act as characters in the story. Each character adds a pollutant that is typical of their character to a jar of clean water (the lake) at appropriate times during the story.
Activity (pdf file, 21K) ~ Activity Worksheet (pdf file, 8K)

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"How Does Land Use Affect Water Infiltration and Run-Off?"
Level: Middle School, High School
This activity shows how modern building and development affect where water flows and its' quality. A model simulates different land use situations to show how water infiltrates or runs off depending upon whether the land is vegetated, barren, or developed.
Activity (pdf file, 18K)

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"How to Clean Up an Oil Spill"
Level: Elementary, Middle School, High School
In this activity, students will learn about density, specifically, the density of oil and water. A simple demonstration of density will be done by the teacher prior to beginning the main activities. Students will be given a small model of an oil spill and various materials to use to clean up the spill. They will also learn how wind effects oil spills.
Activity (pdf file, 93K) ~ Activity Worksheet (pdf file, 5K)

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"Water Pollution and Waste Water Treatment Plants: Build a Filter"
Level: Elementary, Middle School, High School
The goal of this activity is to give students an idea of how difficult it is to clean dirty or polluted water. Students use various materials to build a filter that they then use to clean a sample of 'wastewater'. Each group of students tries different materials to see which group can cleanly and quickly filter the same volume of water. The filtrate is tested to determine if the filter worked to remove odors, soap, and turbidity.
Activity (pdf file, 26K)

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"Getting to the Bottom of It All"
Level: Middle School, High School
In this set of activities students will investigate how sediments build up in estuaries and why it might be necessary to dredge them. They will also observe how the addition of nutrients to a body of water will affect oxygen content organisms. Following the activity students will be able to explain the affect of the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus to an estuary. The third portion of this activity is to allow students to research current data available about an estuary. Upon completion, students should be able to distinguish which sections of Narragansett Bay are polluted and not to be used for swimming. Further, they will be able to justify their response.
Activity (pdf file, 50K)

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"Underwater Suffocation"
Level: Middle School, High School
The students will observe how the addition of nutrients to water will affect oxygen content. Following the activity students will be able to explain the affect of the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus to an estuary.
Activity (pdf file, 8K)

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"Is Our Bay Safe?"
Level: Middle School, High School
This activity is designed to be an Internet activity using the DOEE site along with links to other sites concerned with estuary quality and pollution. Some sites are being developed that will report real-time (or nearly real-time) data of factors that affect Narragansett Bay.
Activity (pdf file, 51K)

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