Home

Common Waters, Common Ground

An Exploration Into Watershed Sustainability and Stewardship

Water is essential to nearly all forms of life on earth. About 70% of our planet is covered by water, yet less than 2% of the water on earth is fresh water; the type of water living things need. Common Water, Common Ground is designed to help students learn about our precious fresh water resources, and to help them appreciate how our practices on land affect the quality of the water upon which life depends.

Video and interactive multimedia technology anchor the curriculum and provide resources for research into the complex issues surrounding our freshwater resources. interactive multimedia technology makes finding information easy for beginning researchers. Students just use the mouse to click on topic headings -- pictures, charts, diagrams and articles appear on the computer screen.

Common Water, Common Ground asks students to focus on water quality issues in two geographic realms: the Great Lakes region and the Pacific Northwest.

Students learn about watersheds in the Great Lakes through a focus on water quality testing for contaminants. When toxins are dumped in the streams and rivers of this region, water quality declines in the Great Lakes.

Students learn about water habitats in the Pacific Northwest through a focus on salmon as an indicator species of water quality. When water quality declines in the streams and rivers of this region, so do salmon populations.

Students connect their studies with home through investigations into their local watershed. The curriculum first asks students to identify the boundaries and issues of the watershed that provides their drinking water. Students then investigate what has happened in watersheds in another region -- the Great Lakes or the Pacific Northwest. At each level of research, students are asked to engage in activities that will help them connect what they are learning about water quality issues in another region to issues in their own watershed.

Concept maps and flow charts show how the curriculum can be organized to include research and presentation cycles. Throughout their investigations, students engage in concept mapping to help them think systematically about the many concepts involved in understanding water quality and water habitats. Students also employ strategic planning models to further understand the complexity of the decisions that are made in communities who struggle to balance the importance of water quality against land use considerations.

This curriculum is intended to provide a framework that will assist teachers in developing a curriculum that suits a variety of time and resource constraints. For those who have the time and resources, hands-on investigations, field trips, and guest speakers greatly extend students learning and provide them with valuable connections in the community and natural environment. Suggestions for ways to extend students learning are included throughout the curriculum guides.

Introductory Video: "When A Raindrop Falls"

(requires a high-bandwidth web connection)
QuickTime (recommended) | Windows Media

 

Journey to the Great Lakes Curriculum Guide
Journey to the Great Lakes

Curriculum Organization Overview

Curriculum Guide (PDF)
(requires Acrobat Reader)

Interactive Multimedia
(requires a high-speed web connection and Shockwave Player)

Video
(requires a high-bandwidth web connection)
QuickTime (recommended)
Windows Media

Save the Salmon Curriculum Guide
Save the Salmon

Curriculum Organization Overview

Curriculum Guide (PDF) (requires Acrobat Reader)

Interactive Multimedia
(requires a high-speed web connection and Shockwave Player)

Video
(requires a high-bandwidth web connection)
QuickTime (recommended)
Windows Media