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This curriculum unit was developed for third graders but it can easily be extended to grades two through five. The unit includes both social studies and science at its core. Water is necessary for all human life and the unit seeks to make students aware of the problems plaguing our water supply, and also the need for people to help change things. The water supply of New Haven is considered in light of the history of the state of Connecticut. Students encounter the way the European settlers and their misunderstanding of the environment began the corruption of the waterways in the United States. Later industrialization and scientific advances led to the further polluting of the rivers. A bit of the history of water is considered from the Roman aqueducts, to the discovery that water could carry disease, to the first attempts to regulate our drinking water. Within the unit students chart what they are learning on a classroom kwl chart, develop a word wall and timeline. Hands-on activities are suggested, from building a model aquifer and water treatment system to quantifying the amount of earth's water. Students also brainstorm ways to conserve and protect the water supply. They make posters illustrating ways to help out. A field trip to the local water treatment plant is also suggested. The unit also includes an appropriate list of books and Web sites.
(Recommended for Science and Social Studies, grades 2-5.)