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

Grades K-3

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 K-3 Writing and Speaking
501.0461 PREPARATORY CONTENT STANDARDS IN LEARNING AREA TWO: WRITE AND SPEAK
A student shall demonstrate the ability to write and speak for a variety of academic and technical purposes through:

Teaching another how to perform an action or create a product by:

  1. writing directions with multiple steps;
  2. sequencing steps accurately;
  3. using task-specific vocabulary;
  4. writing a list of necessary materials; and
  5. using illustrations or visuals as a teaching aid;

Writing a story by:

  1. describing ideas or events from personal experience, observation, or imagination
  2. sequencing ideas or events; and
  3. using details or examples to create images;

<1> What Goes Around Comes Around - page 8
Demonstrate water cycle and water pollution through simple models. Discuss.
Recommended Adaptations:
Do follow-up (A). Put water cycle sequencing cards in order and then describe what happens during this event in writing.

<1> Pond Scum - page 41
Use simple models to observe types and effects of water pollution.
Recommended Adaptations:
Do Follow-Up activity. Be sure to include the "real life" part. This activity takes 2-3 class periods but over a 2-4 week period. Teachers may need help from parents or an aide with the Advanced Preparation to gather all the materials needed plus setting up the aquarium. Many classroom windows have an energy film on them so a grow light may be needed. Be sure to include Extension C, a hike. Use plastic instead of glass for safety.

 

A. writing a report to describe and give information about a person, an object, or a situation; and
B. giving an informal oral presentation by:

  1. presenting an opinion or idea;
  2. using reasons or examples to explain it; and
  3. responding to related questions from the audience.

<1> A Hiking We Will Go - page 11
Describe and classify point and nonpoint pollution.
Recommended Adaptations:
Follow the lesson plan, then do Extension A. Take a walk of the area around the school looking for point and nonpoint pollution examples. Write a report of the findings. Follow up with an oral presentation. (Instead of running off the many sheets, make transparencies.)

Grades K-3 Direct Science Experience
3501.0465 PREPARATORY CONTENT STANDARDS IN LEARNING AREA SIX: APPLIED SCIENTIFIC METHODS
A student shall demonstrate knowledge of basic science concepts of physical science, life science, and earth and space science through direct experience, including understanding of:

A. concepts related to everyday life through characteristic properties of objects, patterns and how they repeat, and cycles;

<1> What Goes Around Comes Around - page 5
Demonstrate water cycle and water pollution through simple models. Discuss.
Recommended Adaptations:
Start with Extension D activity then follow the lesson plan.

B. how the basic needs of organisms are met;

C. responses of organisms to changes in the environment;

<1> Don't Runoff - page 27
Create simple models of run-off and water pollution in different situations.
Recommended Adaptations:
Students will like this activity, but it takes a lot of time and materials. Be sure to visit one of the sites listed.

 

D. how the personal use of materials, energy, and water impacts the environment;

<1> A Hiking We Will Go - page 11
Describe and classify point and nonpoint pollution.
Recommended Adaptations:
Be sure to do the school yard walk after the lesson so students can observe the pollution for themselves.

<1> Pond Scum - page 41
Use simple models to observe types and effects of water pollution.
Recommended Adaptations:
(Also see notes on this activity above.)

<1> Down with Pollutants - page 51
Observe simple model of groundwater flow, including pollutants.
Recommended Adaptations:
Most of this would be teacher demonstration, but students should record their observations. Use plastic jars instead of glass for safety. Keep referring back to the "real world," so students will understand the connection.

<2> Can It (as a Service Learning Project) - page 59
Examine issues of litter and water pollution.
Recommended Adaptations:
Do "Setting the Stage" and then Follow-Up C. Have students clean up the school yard with the help of adults. Wear gloves. Sort the materials picked up into the different kinds of materials that can be recycled, natural material such as sticks and rocks, and trash. Make a bar graph of your findings. Encourage students to do family clean-ups in their neighborhoods.

*** Can You 'Point' It Out? - page 5 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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.

 

D. how the personal use of materials, energy, and water impacts the environment;

<1> Nasty Waters - page 31 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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.

<2> Stop That Soil! - page 75 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
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 (in Grades 3-5 Book)
Model and observe the effects of various agricultural practices on erosion.
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.

E. the characteristics of objects or phenomena, including measuring changes that occur in objects or phenomena as a result of interaction, sorting and classifying objects based on one or two properties, displaying information using graphs, and describing how previously learned concepts apply to new situations.

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