This unit examines how all things in aquatic ecosystems are connected. Through chemical, biological, and physical water testing, we introduce students to the aquatic environment. Students will hunt for aquatic macroinvertebrates, measure the rate at which a stream flows, and test for levels of dissolved oxygen. Throughout each activity, students learn how to think critically about what their findings might imply about the health of the environment they're exploring.
Teachers can prioritize the following content areas:
- Colorado Watershed
- Human Impacts
- Water Cycle
Students will learn about the scientific process through the study of aquatic ecology. Students will conduct a stream survey which includes biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of a stream. Through this research, students will be able to learn first-hand how real scientists measure stream health and eventually infer potential hazards to the quality of the stream.
Mining and Water Quality
Mining has been an economic driver in the state of Colorado both in the past and present. Historical mining practices have left many Colorado streams with poor water quality. Students will learn about water quality improvement strategies and collaboratively determine policy recommendations for covering the costs of river and stream restoration. Download the Mining & Water Quality Curriculum Map.
Colorado Water Management
Students can study the relationship between humans and water resources. The majority of consumable water in Colorado is held as snow high in the mountains. Students will learn how water quantity is measured along with water management practices such as trans-mountain diversions, water storage through reservoirs, and the reasons behind conservation measures. At the close of the program, students will determine their own policy recommendations for how water should be managed.