TEACHER TOOLKIT

Suburban Water Systems and NTC invite you to use these e-learning resources to teach your students about water conservation and pollution prevention. 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, games, smart speaker activity and other lessons to educate your class? Watch this short video and learn how to add Showdown at Dry Gulch to your curriculum!


EDUCATOR INSTRUCTIONS


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 Showdown at Dry Gulch 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  

Our live in-school theatrical programs are a great way to educate students about a wide variety of important topics. Theater has the ability to capture imaginations and educate at the same time! This 25-minute show features two engaging actors performing a fun story that keeps kids laughing and learning.

Showdown at Dry Gulch teaches viewers about the following educational points:

  • The uses of water
  • The importance of water
  • Ways water gets polluted
  • How to conserve water

During the show, your students will learn important lessons about water conservation. You can use the lessons and activities on this page to prolong the engagement for months to come.

 

 

HANDS-ON LESSONS  

Your students can enhance what they learn from the program 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 families.

They’re a fun and educational way for students to learn with family members. The materials needed for these lessons are basic supplies that most people have at home. 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 1:

Plankton in the Air

Objective
Students will identify places that animals live. Students will identify that some animals can live in more than one habitat.

Purpose of Activity
Apply Skills

21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity

Cognitive Level
Strategic Thinking, Skills and Concepts

Class Time
15 minutes

Materials

  • Bubble liquid or dishwashing liquid
  • Bubble blower (suggested)
  • Photos representing filter-feeding organisms

Procedure

Gather students together, and explain how energy moves through the food chain. Plants make energy and grow from the sun. Herbivores (plant-eating animals) eat the plants. Carnivores (meat-eating animals) eat the plant-eating animals. Other carnivores may eat them.

Describe plankton, and its role in the environment. Explain how plankton creates the base of many marine food chains. You can ask a student for a favorite sea creature, and describe a food chain from the sun to that animal. For example, if a student says ‘shark,’ you can create the following food chain: sun-plankton-shrimp-little fish-big fish-shark. Describe how whales use great gulps of sea water and their special teeth (baleen) to gather up the plankton. Explain how clams and oysters draw water into a siphon to do the same. Explain how jellyfish use tiny tentacles to sting and capture plankton, etc.

Once the students have a basic understanding of the role of plankton in the marine environment, introduce the rules of the game. There is no running, no pushing, etc. Explain that the students will become the filter-feeders. They will mimic the filter-feeders as follows:

  • Whales – cross your arms over your face and open and close them like a giant mouth
  • Jellyfish – put both hands on your chin and wiggle your fingers like tentacles
  • Clams – sit on the floor, cupping hands together like two shells (sitting on the floor represents the fact that most bivalves cannot chase prey)

Use these motions to “become” these filter-feeders. Once the bubbles (plankton) arrive, we can “eat.” Practice the motions with the students until they can change from one to another with ease.

Have the students pretend to start to float or swim in the sea.

Once the students are adrift, start blowing bubbles. The children should continue drifting. Tell the students that the bubbles represent plankton, drifting on the currents. Once there are a good number of bubbles, tell the students that they can now be whales, and “feed” on the plankton. Remind them that they should pop the bubbles with their arms and hands, not their mouths. After a short time, tell the students to become jellyfish, then clams. Go back to whales, jumping from one motion to another.

After 10-15 minutes, bring the students back to the starting point, and analyze which strategies were best or worst.

Critical Thinking Questions

Did all of the plankton get eaten?

  • No. Some plankton always escapes.

Could the filter-feeders eat without moving?

  • Yes, but they were dependent upon eating whatever plankton happened to float their way.

Adapted from: https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/administration_pdf/lpplankton.pdf

Lesson 2:

Pond Ecology

Objective
Students will learn about the smaller lifeforms that live in ponds.

Purpose of Activity
Read or listen, Identify Details, Apply Skills

21st Century Skills
Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity

Cognitive Level
Strategic Thinking, Extended Thinking, Skills and Concepts

Class Time
60 minutes

Materials

  • Petri dishes
  • Plastic spoons
  • Hand lenses
  • Plastic pipettes
  • Pond invertebrate guides
  • Pond water
  • Live pond invertebrates
  • Low flat basin
  • Pencils (colored pencils optional)

Procedure

Divide students into teams of three. Each of the students has a vital role in the exploration:

Reader: This student scientist will read each question to the group, and any guides or scientific keys used.

Recorder: This student scientist will write down the answers that the group comes up with for each question.

  1. How many legs does it have?
  2. How many tails does it have?
  3. How does it move? Does it swim, crawl, walk, climb…
  4. Is it a predator? Why do you think that?
  5. What defenses does it have?
  6. What is it?

Artist: This student scientist will sketch the organism.

Introduce students to the equipment that they will be using. This will consist of a Petri dish lid or base (to hold the organism being studied), a plastic spoon (to collect organism from water), a pipette (to collect really small organism from water) and a hand lens. Each team of “researchers” will have one of each item.

Select one student from each group to collect the organism from the pond water basin. Demonstrate the proper technique to catch and not hurt the animals. Explain that though the organisms are small, they are still living specimens and should be respected. Once an animal is caught in the Petri dish basin, the students can now do their research. The collector can carefully carry the Petri dish with the organism back to the other students in the study area.

The recorder and the reader should sit adjacent to one another. The animal in the basin should be available for all of the students to make observations, and the hand lens can be shared. If the desks are dark, placing white paper under the dish can help the students to see small details. The reader should read each question to the group. The group can then discuss and observe, and the recorder can write down the answer the group decides on.

When all of the questions are answered, a student should render a sketch of the organism. The picture should be much larger than the organism. All of the students can suggest details to the artist. The style of the sketch is entirely up to the artist.

The final observation is to identify the organism. Students can match their artist’s drawing to scientific illustrations.

Once the identification is confirmed by the teacher, the animals can be returned to the pond.

Critical Thinking Questions

How do you think organisms living in the pond survive?

  • They eat other plants and animals in the pond. They also need to stay away from predators.

What would happen if the organisms living in the pond disappeared?

  • It would disrupt the ecology of the pond and possibly cause other plants and animals to die or migrate away from the pond in order to survive.

Lesson 4:

Write a Water Poem

OBJECTIVE
Students will read poems about water. Then they will draw a picture inspired by the poems as well as write their own.

PURPOSE OF ACTIVITY
Read or Listen, Apply Skills, Create

COGNITIVE LEVEL
Strategic and Extended Thinking

CLASS TIME
1 class period

MATERIALS

  • Pencil
  • Drawing utensils
  • Paper

PROCEDURE

  1. Have students read one, two or all of the water-inspired poems below.
  2. Discuss the poems.
  3. Prompt students to reflect on a memorable experience involving water.
  4. Have students create a drawing demonstrating a memorable experience about water.
  5. Explain that the students will also be writing a poem about water.
  6. Have students create a poem next to the drawing.

Suggestion: if students have trouble creating a poem, they may want to try writing a word that describes or relates to water and assigning an adjective for each letter of the word.

Drinking Fountain
Ethel Jacobson
At first just a trickle,
Two drops splash and tickle.
And then there’s a spurt,
A sudden big squirt,
Right smack in my eye:
The fountain must think
That I need a face-wash
More than a drink!

Flow
Aldo Kraas
Water from the Sea
I hope that
You flow
Back and forth
Because I want to hear
The sound of the water
I find the sound of the water
So soothing

Water is a Lovely Thing
Julia W. Wolfe
Water is a lovely thing—
Dark and ripply in a spring,
Dark and quiet in a pool,
In a puddle brown and cool;
In the river blue and gray,
In a raindrop silver gray,
In a fountain crystal bright;
In a pitcher frosty cold,
In a bubble pink and gold;
In a happy summer sea
Just as green as green can be;
In a rainbow far unfurled,
Every color in the world;
All the year from spring to spring,
Water is a lovely thing.



Critical Thinking Questions

What kinds of words did you use to describe water?

  • Adjectives are words that describe other words. Wet, cold and frozen are all examples of adjectives that could describe water.

What are the differences between some of the poems written by the students?

  • Some may rhyme, others may not. Some may be long, others short. Some may have complicated rhythms, others may be simple. Discuss the effect each poem has on the students..

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.

Elementary Educational Assessments
Livestream
Hands-on lessons
Digital games
E-book
Graphic novel
Interactive activities
PDFs & Print materials
Ask students to reflect on the topic and draw their thoughts on paper
X
   
X
X
   
Write one or two sentences identifying the main point
X
X
 
X
X
   
Think-pair-share
X
   
X
X
   
One-question quiz    
X
   
X
 
Journal reflection
X
   
X
X
   
Have students discuss three things they learned, two things they still want to learn, and one question they still have
X
   
X
X
   
Hand in completed activity  
X
       
X
Submit screenshot of completed activity    
X
   
X
 

STUDENT ACTIVITIES  

Showdown at Dry Gulch student activities page features games, videos, 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

Student Playbook

This downloadable PDF features colorful artwork, entertaining games and activities, and expanded information to complete your understanding of water conservation. Read on your own, with your class, or with friends and family and get to know the characters of Showdown at Dry Gulch.

Explore the Student Playbook

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 beautiful artwork, entertaining characters and expanded information, The Aqua League digital flipbook 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. Enter the code you received on the Teacher Instruction Card or call us for your access code.

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.

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