September 18, 2010 is World Water Monitoring Day. Here is a description from the official site:
World Water Monitoring Day™ (WWMD) is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.
An easy-to-use test kit enables everyone from children to adults to sample local water bodies for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Results are shared with participating communities around the globe through the WWMD Web site.
The test kits are free and in addition to helping with WWMD, collecting and analyzing a water sample is an excellent science lesson unto itself. This year, with the BP oil spill, the lesson is especially crucial. In addition, partly due to the oil spill, there are many, many educational resources for teaching about water quality available. Some of the many resources that might interest you are:
- 4-H’s National Youth Science Day is October 6, 2010 and is focusing on water quality this year. You can purchase science experiment kits from them for $22.
- Maps help put the BP oil spill into better perspective. This map and this map let you compare the size of the oil spill to where you live (this is very eye opening – it is about the size of half the state of Washington, where I live).
- The EPA has lots of resources for kids about water and pollution, as well as a page of teaching resources
- The National Wildlife Federation has a page devoted to the spill that summarizes the events in age-appropriate language and detail. In addition, they have a mini-newsletter for kids that covers the spill. They also have an easy science activity that helps to illustrate the effects if the spill. (Here and here and here are other similar experiments that are aimed at somewhat different age groups.)
- The Gulf of Mexico Alliance has many lesson plans, as well as videos, podcasts, and other educational resources.
- The National Marine Educators Association has many lesson plans
- NOAA has a page for students and educators with various experiments for students
- National Environmental Education Week has many lessons and activities for teaching about water.
- The National Park Service has several activities about water for kids.
- Estuaries.gov has many lesson plans for educators, as well as videos, podcasts, a virtual field trip, and more.
- The USDA Forest Service has lots of information, worksheets, videos, photos, etc. about fish
- The Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest has a lesson plan that uses art to teach about fish
- The USGS has a Water Science for Schools page
- The Audubon Society has a program for kids to raise money, called Pennies for the Planet. This year, funds raised will go to various coastal projects. There are also some pages to color and a free kit that you can request here.
- Black Tides is a site that discusses oil spills with a graphical interface, it is more appropriate for middle – highschoolers.
- Here is a history of oil spills. While, here is a history of the more famous oil spills.
- Energy Kids discusses oil, where it comes from, how we use it, etc.
- CNN has a detailed timeline of the spill