TEACHER TOOLKIT

The Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities and NTC invite you to use these e-learning resources to teach your students about water conservation and using drains properly. The digital materials below are designed to get your students excited about understanding these important subjects.

Want to know the best way to use the related videos, e-books, games and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to easily add Men in Plaid: The Water Files to your curriculum!


EDUCATOR VIDEO


Educational Standards  

We know your class time is extremely valuable. That’s why we ensure that all of our digital e-learning materials are aligned with state and national educational standards. It’s important that the Men in Plaid: The Water Files digital program adds to your existing curriculum and keeps students on track with their ongoing learning.

See below for details about how each digital activity aligns with educational standards and corresponds with your state’s curricula.

Educational Standards

PROGRAM OVERVIEW  

Debuting this year, our livestream offers teachers a convenient, online-accessible option for experiencing educational theatre.

This 35-minute show presents a virtual lesson in energy efficiency for grades K-5. Through an interactive web platform, a live host will introduce entertaining sketches featuring a variety of characters in professionally filmed scenes from educational theatrical productions.

The sketches focus on the following educational points:

  • The uses of water
  • The importance of water
  • Ways to conserve water
  • How to use drains properly

Whether watching in the classroom or at home, your students will experience important lessons about water conservation.

HANDS-ON LESSONS  

Your students can enhance the learning from the livestream with these fun, hands-on lessons and experiments. These lessons can be done in the classroom or easily adapted for students to do at home with their family.

The materials needed for these lessons are basic supplies that most people have at home. They’re a fun and educational way for students to learn with family members. Follow up with your students to make sure they enjoyed and learned from these activities.

Lesson 1:

Lesson 1: The Water Cycle

plants
Objective

Make a miniature environment to see the water cycle at work.

Purpose of Activity

Apply Skills, Create

21st Century Skills

Critical Thinking

Cognitive Level

Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time

45 minutes over three days

Materials
  • Soil
  • Water
  • Small plastic bowl
  • Large, clear plastic container or an old aquarium
  • Plastic wrap
  • Plastic trees, animals, boat, etc. (optional)
  • Tape or large rubber band
  • Bag of ice (optional)
  • Heat lamp (optional)
Procedure
  1. Arrange the soil in the container to make mountains, plateaus, hills and a lake basin. Place the small plastic bowl in the lake basin. Fill the bowl with water. Add any plastic animals, trees or boats to the environment. Cover the container tightly with plastic wrap and secure it by means of tape or the band. Place the container near a sunny window.
  2. Discuss what is expected to happen in the container.
  3. Depending on the amount of sun, the project may take one to three days. In order to speed up the process, a bag of ice may be placed on one end of the covered container, while a heat lamp is focused on the other.
  4. Watch for condensation on the plastic wrap “sky” of the container. When enough moisture collects, it will fall onto the landforms as precipitation.

Where is water collecting?

  • It is collecting on the inside of the plastic wrap cover.

Why is it collecting there?

  • The water is evaporating and that is what is causing it to condense there.

What happens to the water after it evaporates?

  • It precipitates back down into the aquarium.

Lesson 2:

Using Drains Properly

Objective
Students will learn drains can get clogged with everyday items.

Purpose of Activity
Review, Identify Details, Communicate, Create

21st Century Skills
Collaboration

Cognitive Level
Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time
45 minutes

Materials

  • Aquarium
  • Rectangular box
  • Empty paper towel roll
  • Water
  • Watering can
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers

Preparation

Fill the aquarium half-way with water and place it on an accessible area where it can be easily viewed by the students. Cut a hole in the bottom of the box. Place an empty paper towel roll so it fits right in the hole and extend the paper towel roll down into the water. Place the box on top of the aquarium. This represents a sink or toilet and the drainpipe. Leave the sides of the aquarium uncovered so that the students can view its contents.

Procedure

  1. Pour some water down the “drain” and observe that the water flows freely into the water in the aquarium.
  2. Hand out fruit to each group. Use a variety of fruits to compare results.
  3. Discuss where the objects that we put into a drain go. Have students list all of the things that they can think of that people might flush down a toilet or pour down a drain. Examples would be paper towels, tissues, dental floss, diapers, etc.
  4. Have each group of students place different items down the drain.
  5. Now try to pour some more water down the drain and observe that less water is able to flow into the aquarium.
  6. After adding all of the items, examine the aquarium. Discuss how putting items in toilets and sinks can clog the drain and the pipe. Water could even start coming back up into the sink.

What types of the pollution are natural?

  • Grass clippings, twigs, some food

What types of pollution are added by people living in the local communities?

  • Pesticides/fertilizer, motor oil, paint, gasoline, etc.

What could be done to stop pollutants from entering storm drains?

  • Recycling, careful use of materials, finding alternatives, etc.

Lesson 3:

Role of Plants in Water Filtration

Turbine
Objective

This experiment is a very simplified way to show whether plants will take up certain kinds of materials from water moving relatively quickly through their root systems.

Purpose of Activity

Review, Identify Details, Communicate, Create

21st Century Skills

Critical Thinking

Cognitive Level

Strategic and Extended Thinking

Class Time

45 minutes

Materials
  • Six potted plants in 6-8" diameter pots with holes in the bottom; soil needs to be moderately dry
  • Six clear containers, such as cups, which will support the plants and allow drainage to be viewed
  • Soil
  • Unsweetened powdered drink mix, grape or cherry for color
  • Vegetable oil
  • One or two different household cleaners; one should be liquid and the other powder
Preparation

Set up the potted plants, each in its own cup. Slowly pour 6-8 ounces of clean water through the pot. Adjust the soil so that water percolates through at about one ounce per minute.

Procedure

Divide the class into teams. Teams of three or four work best.

  1. Place the potted plants into the top of their cups. Pour clean water slowly through one of the pots and watch it percolate through the bottom of the pot. The water should look as clean as what was poured.
  2. Add a gram or so of soil to 6-8 ounces of water and stir. Pour slowly into the second flower pot. The “dirty” water should look much cleaner once poured.
  3. Add about one ounce of vegetable oil to 6-8 ounces of water, stir (they won’t mix completely) and pour into a third pot. See if the vegetable oil percolates through.
  4. Add some powdered drink mix to 6-8 ounces of water and pour through a fourth pot. See if the water retains the color.
  5. Add some powdered cleanser to 6-8 ounces of water and pour through a fifth pot. Is the cleanser retained in the soil?
  6. Add some liquid soap to 6-8 ounces water. Does the soap percolate through the soil?
  7. Using the “contaminated” plants, pour some clean water at the same rate through each one. Is more of the “pollutant” rinsed away from the soil by the clean water?

In what ways can plants and soil help improve drinking water quality?

  • They filter out some pollutants.

Can plants and soil remove any type of impurity from water?

  • No.

What is the role of rainwater moving through contaminated soil?

  • It washes the pollutants through the root system as well as deep underground.

EDUCATOR ASSESSMENTS  

Follow-up, formative assessments for you to gauge the learning of your students are especially important with e-learning. Below are some suggestions for how you can assess your students’ performance quickly and effectively.

These assessments are easy for you and your students to complete and help ensure your class is getting the maximum educational value, retention and engagement from the related digital activities.

STUDENT ACTIVITIES  

The Men in Plaid: The Water Files student activities page features games, videos, e-books, educational lessons, a smart speaker app and more. Access in the classroom or at home to learn more about how to conserve water and protect the environment in your community.

Access Student Activities

E-book

Dive into this colorful, illustrated e-book in the classroom or at home with friends and family. Students can read to themselves or with others, and younger students can use the read-along option.

Access the E-book

Graphic Novel

Flip through this colorful graphic novel for a new and engaging story. With fun artwork, entertaining characters and expanded information, The Aqua League graphic novel offers a page-turning experience.

Access the Graphic Novel

EVALUATION

We take your feedback and suggestions very seriously. Hearing from educators with firsthand experience with our programs ensures that we continue to improve our digital resources, making them as beneficial as possible for you and your students.

Please complete this brief, two-minute evaluation to let us know what you thought.

Thank you for your time and valuable input.

EXPANDED INFORMATION & ADDITIONAL RESOURCES  

You’ve covered the basics of water conservation. If you really want to dig deep with your class, explore the expanded information and additional resources below.

These materials provide even more insight into the science, usage and importance of water. There are also helpful links and tips for how to conserve and be safe around water in your community.

Expanded Information:

Water Fun Facts

Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is salt water in the ocean. Two percent is stored as fresh water in glaciers. This leaves only 1% of all the water on Earth as water for people to use. If all the world’s water were put into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon.

How Much Water Are You?

Students will calculate how many 8-ounce glasses of water they are made of.

  1. Have students write down their weight.
  2. Divide their weight by three.
  3. Multiply the new number by four.

That’s about how many 8-ounce glasses of water it would take to equal all the water in a person.

By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1% of their total water amount. Drink water before you get thirsty.

Facts:

  • Each day the sun evaporates one trillion tons of water off of lakes, rivers and oceans.
  • Over 42,000 gallons of water are needed to grow and prepare the food for a typical Thanksgiving dinner for eight.
  • In 1969, the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland, OH was so polluted that it caught on fire.
  • There is exactly the same amount of water on Earth now as there was in prehistoric times.
  • Water is the only substance on Earth naturally found in the three true element forms: solid, liquid and gas.
  • Water expands by 9% when it freezes. Ice is lighter than water, which is why ice floats on water.

ADDITIONAL LINKS

Fun for Kids (Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities)

The Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities wants to help you to become a water conservation expert!