Elementary Teacher's Handbook (grades 4-8)
The Water Detectives
The Adopt-A-Stream Elementary program consists of the Water Detective Teacher's Handbook, written for the youth leader or teacher, and the Student Guide, written for young folks wanting to "make a difference". The leader's Handbook provides you with background information and goals for each activity in the Student Guide, a description of strategies and useful skills, and a list of cosponsors and experts with ways that they can help make your program successful, and involve the community with your group's efforts.
The Student Guide encourages children to transform environmental concern into community action by: becoming aware of the importance of water, of how pollution affects water systems, and all the creatures that rely on it for life. It also contains detailed instructions for a variety of environmental quality tests that they use to collect the data that will help then determine the waterway's health. The instructions that are unique to the teacher's handbook are in sans serif print. The serif printing is as it appears in the Student Workbook. This enables the teacher to follow along with the class when reading foundational materials and instructions. The teacher can interject additional instructions without the student being burdened with reading the more complicated explanations.
All of the activities are organized into 10 "STEPS". Each STEP leads the students through the process of Adopt-A-Stream. Youth leaders choose activities from the Handbook from each "STEP" that are best suited to their young participants, curriculum or club, and facilities. (This guide was designed especially for upper elementary children but it can be tailored for other youth groups and for the lower elementary grades.) The activities in the student guide involve small-group cooperative activities, historical and economic research, creative arts and writing activities, data collection and analysis, and hands-on field explorations.
Middle School Teacher's Handbook (grades 6-9)
The Ecological Exploration
Are you a technology teacher who's interested in encouraging their young students to be aware of current and developing technologies and their possible effects on water quality and on wildlife populations?
The Teacher's Guide is organized to provide you with all the information you need to (a) monitor water by "adopting" a waterway, and (b) study wildlife by building a nest box, blind, or feeder. The first section gives guidelines on how to initiate the water portion of the activity, including basic safety practices for the classroom, for the field, and for chemical work if you choose to use any of the field test kits that are available for water testing. Next, you will find information on how to get a good sample that is representative of the waterway, and guidelines on selecting sites along (or in) the waterway. Next are groups of activities you may select from, an evaluating data section, an action guide, and a glossary. The second section covers the elements of wildlife management and stewardship. Students then select a project to do, place it in the field, and monitor their results.
- The hands-on activities are designed to acquaint students with some of the positive and negative impacts of technology on our natural environment and to meet the requirements for a biology-related technology module.
- Through the collection and systems analysis of data (using aquatic organisms as monitors of the ecosystems) students determine the health of a local waterway.
- Students are encourage to take responsibility for their environment and work with the community to improve it.
- The students are introduced to a variety of environmental occupations and conduct simplified versions of the actual tests that professionals use.
- An opportunity to take a positive role in the improvement of their environment. Students often take on the responsibility of stewardship with great enthusiasm, and feel empowered to make a contribution to their communities and to their world.
Remember that this program is flexible. Teachers can pick and choose from among the various activities that suit their needs, interests, time frame and materials available. For example, if a volunteer effort is you and students' objective, go right to the Action Section, if you can't manage a field trip, and want to do just introductory lab activities, or do only a wildlife management activity -- do it!
High School Teacher's Manual (grades 9-12)
The Ecological Integrity
This comprehensive guide is an instructional aid for high school teachers and other youth leaders who want to encourage students to be stewards of their environment by addressing real water quality issues within their communities. This interdisciplinary program enhances students' problem-solving capabilities by using scientific inquiry, allowing students to develop skills to answer questions by using techniques and procedures used by scientists. Adopt-A-Stream gives classroom learning a meaningful real-life application, and can provide community recognition of the students' efforts.
The Adopt-A-Stream Teacher's Manual has all the information you need to integrate a water quality study into your curriculum. It is intended to provide assistance while being flexible, allowing for teacher (and student) creativity -- pick and choose from the activities based on your students' capabilities, time, curriculum, and available materials.
- Teachers and students first identify community water quality issues to study by researching background information.
- From this information, questions can be generated that will be answered by the students' data.
- A research plan can be developed.
- An understanding of the skills and methods are then needed.
- Next, select and carry out those techniques that generate data to answer the questions developed from examining the water quality issues.
- Once data is collected and analyzed, participants are encouraged to devise a course of action to put the information to work.
We know that teachers are pressed for time to get across material designated by State Standards. Adopt-A-Stream is designed to address some of these standards, especially those relating to ecosystems. Specific NYS Standards relating to each activity are listed after the objectives for all of the activities in this Manual.
Although Adopt-A-Stream is best appreciated and utilized as a field activity, often times field trips are not possible. In recognition of this, the program has many activities that can be done entirely in the classroom.
Features in this edition include: ready to use activities with teaching information and student assessments, a planning chart, sources for equipment and supplies, diagrams and visual aids (poster potential), charts and dichotomous keys.
- The first chapter describes how to get started, and introduces the issue of water quality for the teacher and for the student.
- Chapter two features information and activities which initiate students to the task, and gives a perspective on the problem from a watershed approach. First, students gather information, interview people, and organize their information in a database format. Next comes practice reading a topographic map to prepare for the following activity where students explore possible pollution sources. After they examine the types of pollution in the next activity, they examine the historical perspective of their waterway: how was the land managed, and what waterway alterations were done to their waterway?
- The field simulation activities provide necessary practice (skill development) before they go out into the field, or can serve as general lab activities if a field trip is not feasible.
- In the next section are basic safety practices for the field, for chemical testing, and for microbiological testing, and of course sampling techniques to get the all-important representative sample for your waterway.
- The next four chapters cover the actual water quality tests: physical, chemical, biological, and microbiological.
- The last chapter gives guidelines on what can be done with the data generated by the students, and a selection of action activities to encourage participants to improve their waterway.
- Appendices have a wealth of pertinent information including sources for equipment, monitoring equipment building instruction, EPA Criteria, Microbiological solutions and media, and visual aids.