Tasks to be completed:
- Complete warm up activity
- Watch Lacey’s Presentation
- Complete the discussion prompt at the end of this page
- (Most of the following items are labeled with the number 2)
- Plastic cup
- Small perforated portion of a cup with felt
- Small green felt
- Container of pollutants
- Gravel and/or sand
- Spray bottle or cup of water (not included)
Warm up activity:
Why should you care about our watersheds?
Was there any information that was new to you or did this section serve as a refresher? Let us know what piece of information stood out to you the most.
Benita Wilson - July 17, 2020
Many of the pollutants mentioned in Lacey’s video were familiar to me except for one: PFAS. I didn’t know that these polyfloroalkyl substances came from so many things (fire extinguishers, non stick cookware, waterproof clothes, fast food wrappers, personal care products) and have ended up literally everywhere (soil, air, water, soil). The fact that only a little bit of PFAs could be hazardous for our health was very surprising.
Andy Russell - July 26, 2020
My research assistant (aged 4) provided the following observation during the warm-up activity: “Dada! We have a red river! We need a white river!”
PFAS were new to me as well. In general I take a positive view on “better living through chemistry”, but it’s not altogether surprising that a class of chemicals is both widely used and not meant to be ingested. I am frustrated when our LEGO bricks crack, but do I really want plastics to last forever? Probably not. [Apparently European bricks don’t crack, it’s an American thing.] Appropriate testing and regulatory oversight are essential before we allow new chemicals to be used by industry. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were an example I learned about at university, which also accumulate in water, are toxic and long-lasting.
The idea that well water could represent mixed water, and not be indicative of water quality at a given depth, is logical but not something I’d ever thought about before. If different magma sources can mix in a volcano, why not water in a well?
Colette Hunt - August 9, 2020
Most of this did not come as a surprise to me. Like Andy I had some assistants who were shocked that the pollutants ended up in the river so quickly. One thing that did stand out was the PFAS. I had no idea what they were or that they were such a big deal.
One thing I am going to take back to the classroom was the last short video about why you should care. I teach 6th graders about water and I think this could be very impactful for many of my students.