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Water: Local Pollution, Global Confusion!

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Originally appears in the Spring 2008 issue

Water, water, every where, / Nor any drop to drink. The ancient mariner’s lament is a frightening reality of everyday life for more and more people on our planet. Access to clean water is an enormously important issue, both locally and globally, and one of the best ways to teach students about it is through experiential activities. The two activities presented here help students understand the causes of water pollution in their own communities and raise awareness of the global disparity in technology and resources needed for dealing with water-quality problems. The activities have been used predominantly with middle years students.

Who polluted the Red River?

This activity, based on the Population Connection activity “Who Polluted the Potomac?,” provides a graphic demonstration of what causes pollution in local waterways and challenges students to think about our collective responsibility to protect the quality of water sources.

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Amanda Freedman Tetrault teaches Grade 7 science at École River Heights Middle School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and is a graduate student at the University of Manitoba.