This lab is designed to be open ended. Students may come up with different conciusions. It is important however that they base their conclusions on data collected from their tests. This assessment incorporates life science, earth science (there is even a map with topographical information), chemistry and physics.

One Good Answer The City Park and Recreation has put a lake on top of an old ammunition dump site which is laden with lead contamination. The lead is percolating into the reservoir below and poisoning the fish. The soil sample from the lake site will even have some old ammunition shells and lead chunks in it. Most students may initially target the detergent factory as the culprit, and this can be set up by the teacher to be just the case, but in our scenario it is the City Park and Recreation who is responsible .

If the detergent factory builds a hydroelectric dam to capitalize on the potential energy of the tailings pond they will be able to tap in to that resource and save on their electric bill.

There may be more than one answer depending on students' test results. The teacher may also change the water and soil samples each time.

Content Preparation: This unit requires that the students have experience with water quality tests, soil tests, alternative energy resources and calculating power. At the end of the unit, when this assessment is given,the students will want to test for phosphates, nitrates, dissolved oxygen, lead,pH, and living organisms. They will also want to test soil texture and percolation rates. The physics portion of the assignment requires that they know something about potential and kinetic energy, hydroelectric power and how generators function.

Lab Preparation

Students will be given soil and water samples from:

The detergent factory (A)

Soil sample: Soil with slow percolation and lots of absorption.

Water sample: Very clean water.

Lake Newton (B)

Soil sample: Soil with lead (bullet casings or lead pieces - optional) with fast percolation and little absorption.

Water Sample: Water with low level lead contamination (lead nitrate). Can also have traces of biological activity (algae and microorganisms).

Darwin Reservoir (C)

Soil sample: Soil with slow percolation and lots of absorption.

Water Sample: Water with high level of lead contamination. (lead nitrate).

(back to student story of "Dead Fish...")