Environmental Resource Guide (ERG) Activities
Explained in terms of Minnesota's Profile of Learning

Grades 4-5

Standards which can be met in part through ERG activities (described on this page):

Key to Format

  • The standards themselves are printed in italics.
  • Lesson titles are printed in bold. Each grade's K-8 activity appears immediately following the portion of the standard to which the activity most directly relates.
    <1> = Strong, direct connection to the standard.
    <2> = Must add to or modify the activity for a strong connection to the standard.
    *** = Provides essential background students need to complete the standard.

Grades 4-5 Living and Nonliving Systems
3501.0465 PREPARATORY CONTENT STANDARDS IN LEARNING AREA SIX: APPLIED SCIENTIFIC METHODS
A student shall demonstrate:
A. an understanding of:

  1. characteristics of organisms including plants, animals, and microorganisms;
  2. basic structures and functions of the human body;
  3. cycles and patterns in living organisms, earth systems, and physical systems;

4. how human behavior and technology impact the environment; and v

*** Can You 'Point' It Out? - page 5
Define and identify types of water pollutants.
Recommended Adaptations:
This activity gives important background. It needs to be paired with other activities to meet a standard.

<2> I Spy - page 21
Examine nonpoint source pollution, its causes and effects.
Recommended Adaptations:
Turn the Follow-up B activity into a Service Learning Project. Do Extension (B). Research the laws using the computer.

<1> Nasty Waters - page 31
Create and observe a model of a polluted pond.
Recommended Adaptations: Be sure to do Follow-up and Extension activities. Many classroom windows have an energy film on them so a grow light may be needed.

<1> Wet Blankets - page 39
Create and observe a model of soil erosion and sediment pollution.
Recommended Adaptations: Be sure to do all parts of the activity, especially Extension B.

<2> Too Many Nutrients - page 45
Model effects of excess nutrients in a lake, algae bloom, etc.
Recommended Adaptations:
This would be one part of a total lesson on types of water pollution. Many classroom windows have an energy film on them so a grow light may be needed.

<2> Danger-Pesticides - page 49
Discuss the uses and dangers of pesticides.
Recommended Adaptations:
This would be one part of a total lesson on types of water pollution. Be sure to do Follow-Up and Extension activities.

<2> From Streets to Streams - page 57
Model runoff and pollution on pavement, grass, and other surfaces.
Recommended Adaptations:
An excellent introduction to a Service Learning Project such as painting storm drain stencils and educating the community about runoff.

<2> Leaky Landfills - page 63
Construct and observe a model landfill.
Recommended Adaptations:
This activity could be part of a total lesson on sources of water pollution. Should be done over several months to really see any results.

<2> Riprap Roads - page 71
Model the impacts of various forestry practices on erosion.
Recommended Adaptations:
Research (Internet) on clearcutting /timber harvest to confirm the currency of the statements made in this activity. How have practices changed over the years? Do all parts of B in this section. Invite someone from the Forest Industry to talk with the class. Prepare questions ahead of time.

 

4. how human behavior and technology impact the environment; and

<2> Stop That Soil! - page 75
Observe erosion and erosion-prevention practices at a simulated construction site.
Recommended Adaptations:
This activity could be part of a total lesson on sources of water pollution. Interview someone from a local construction company about silt screens. What type of material is used? Research how the building industry reduces water pollution. Be sure to do Extension A on how a student can make a difference.

<2> Farming Ugly! - page 83
Recommended Adaptations:
Start this lesson 2 weeks early to grow the seeds. Could be part of a total lesson on sources of water pollution. Follow-up B would require more research (especially by city kids) than the lesson indicates. (It is asking a lot to have students tell a farmer how to farm after one short lesson. Perhaps students could educate urban consumers.

5. characteristics of the physical world.
A. the ability to:

  1. measure and classify objects, organisms, and materials on the basis of properties and relationships;
  2. make systematic observations of objects, events, or phenomena by recording data and predicting change;
  3. create a model to illustrate a concept, law, theory, or principle; and
  4. identify personal behaviors and use of materials that have a positive impact on the environment.

Grades 4-5 Geography and Citizenship
3501.0464 PREPARATORY CONTENT STANDARDS IN LEARNING AREA SEVEN: PEOPLE AND CULTURES:
A student shall demonstrate an understanding of:
1....
2....
3....
4. characteristics of the student's local community by:
a. describing how local resources and products are used in the region of the world;
b. researching the origins of groups represented in the local community; and
c. participating in an activity that contributes to the improvement of the student's community.

Many Activities - Any water quality-related service-learning project where students are involved in genuine research of community needs could allow students to meet this portion of the Geography and Citizenship standard.

Grades 4-5 Media, Observation, and Investigation
3501.0464 PREPARATORY CONTENT STANDARDS IN LEARNING AREA FIVE: INQUIRY
A student shall demonstrate the ability to answer a question by gathering information from:

A. direct observations or experiments with a variable, including framing a question; collecting, recording, and displaying data; identifying patterns; comparing individual findings to large group findings; and identifying areas for further investigation;

B. media sources, including selecting a topic and framing a question; accessing information from any or all of electronic media, print, interviews, and other sources; recording and organizing information; and reporting findings in written, oral, or visual presentation; and

<1> I Spy - page 21
Examine nonpoint source pollution, its causes and effects.
Recommended Adaptations:
Turn the Follow-up B activity into a Service Learning Project. Do Extension (B). Research the laws using the computer.

<1> Danger-Pesticides - page 49
Discuss the uses and dangers of pesticides.
Recommended Adaptations:
This would be one part of a total lesson on types of water pollution. Be sure to do Follow-Up and Extension activities.

<1> Leaky Landfills - page 63
Construct and observe a model landfill.
Recommended Adaptations:
This activity could be part of a total lesson on sources of water pollution. Should be done over several months to really see any results.

<1> Riprap Roads - page 71
Model the impacts of various forestry practices on erosion.
Recommended Adaptations:
Research (Internet) on clearcutting /timber harvest to confirm the currency of the statements made in this activity. How have practices changed over the years? Do all parts of B in this section. Invite someone from the Forest Industry to talk with the class. Prepare questions ahead of time.

<1> Get the Job Done With Less - page 97
Identify pesticides used at home, and consider alternatives.
Recommended Adaptations:
Research Natural Alternatives to Pesticides on the Internet. (An excellent source is Organic Gardening - Rodale.) Do all parts of B in this section. Invite a gardener or horticulturist to talk with the class on the subject. Prepare questions ahead of time. Activity on page 98 would be a good start to this research. (See resources listed for ideas.) Some students could research what is meant and what can happen if the warnings on pesticide containers (Danger, Caution, or Warning) are not followed page 99.

 

C. direct observation and interviews, including identifying a topic or area for investigation, writing a detailed description of the observation, conducting an interview with follow-up questions or designing and conducting a survey, recording and organizing information, and evaluating the findings to identify areas for further investigation.

<2> Pollution Preventers - page 101
Identify household products that contain toxics, and research alternatives.
Recommended Adaptations:
1. The student should identify an area for investigation. (e.g. How to prevent nonpoint pollution in their homes.)
2. Conduct an interview with follow-up questions of their family to identify sources of urban nonpoint water pollutants. (See list at end of activity.)
3. Keep a journal for a week, recording each time the family tries something new to help prevent nonpoint source pollution.
4. Student evaluates findings to identify what action needs to come next.
5. Be sure to do this Extension B, page 103!

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