Compendium of Coastal, Wetland, and Restoration Information

Water Quality

Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary – Activities (BTNEP)
The BTNEP Educator’s Guide to the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary is a comprehensive, downloadble source of information and activities for formal and nonformal educators. Grades K-12.

  • What is Freshwater and What is Saltwater? (Activity 3-1) - Students locate Louisiana waterways and compare the Gulf of Mexico (salt water) to the Barataria Bay (freshwater).
  • The Ideal Filter (Activity 3-2) - Focuses on the wetlands filtering system. Students design an ideal filter to simulate the job done by a wetland in purifying dirty water.\
  • The Hurricane’s Coming! (Activity 3-3) - Stresses the importance of wetlands being nature’s best filters and protectors. Students build models that show the function and value of wetlands as storm protectors.
  • Keep It Above Board (Activity 3-4) - Focuses on trash decomposition in the environment. Students compare the decomposition rates of several items and create a collage.
  • Exploring the Barataria-Terrebonne Watershed (Activity 3-5) - Contrasts the relatively flat landscape of coastal Louisiana with hillier terrain in the Tunica Hills region. Students discuss how water moves through watersheds.
  • Watershed Drainage and Sources of Pollution? (Activity 3-6 ) - Involves the importance of keeping our watershed healthy. Students make a model watershed and investigate runoff, point source and non-point source pollution.
  • Understanding Nutrients: Nitrogen Cycle (Activity 3-7) - Emphasizes the roles of phosphorus and nitrogen in aquatic plant growth. Students participate in a skit to understand the Nitrogen cycle.
  • Understanding Nutrients: Phosphorus Cycle (Activity 3-8) - Emphasizes the role of phosphorus in aquatic plant growth on our ecosystems. Students participate in a game.
  • The Effect of NO3 on Plant Growth (Activity 3-9) - Investigates the effects of various concentrations of fertilizer on plant growth. Students design an experiment on fertilizer, record results after one week and draw conclusions from their data.
  • Measuring the Bayou’s Vital Signs (Activity 3-10) - Investigates the water quality of Bayou Lafourche. Students test Bayou Lafourche water for effects of various concentrations of fertilizer on plant growth and other water quality issues.

Healthy Water, Healthy People – Activities
Innovative water quality education program sponsored by Project WET and the Hach Scientific Foundation, offering hands-on activity guides, testing kits, training, and more. This unit is for anyone interested in learning and teaching about contemporary water quality education topics.

  • Mapping It Out (Pp. 6-8) - Uses two excellent teaching techniques: the KWL process and Concept Mapping. Students express prior knowledge of water quality.
  • From H to OH! (Pp. 15-20) - Allows students to simulate the creation of acids and bases.
  • Grab a Gram (Pp. 29-34) - Introduces basic water quality measurements like parts per million (ppm) and milligrams per liter (mg/L).
  • Multiple Perspectives (Pp. 55-59) - Entails completing a set of activities showing different points of view about water quality.

Monitoring Estuarine Water Quality – Activities (NOAA)
Features five activities at different levels to teach about monitoring water quality using real data. Grades 6-8.

Vanishing Wetlands, Vanishing Future – Video Clips (BTNEP)
This video on BTNEP’s seven priority problems is in the style of Bill Nye the Science Guy and is best suited for middle school, though the vocabulary is applicable to high school topics.

  • Fish Kills (Clip 5) - Measurements can detect minerals and chemicals that can be harmful to fish. Crop fertilization is performed in ways that cause minimal damage to wetlands.
  • Pathogen Contamination (Clip 6) - Proper detection and sewage treatment procedures keep pathogens from reaching open wetlands.
  • Oyster Industry (Clip 7) - Discusses commercial impact of oyster industry on Barataria-Terrebone area.
  • Toxic Substances (Clip 8) - Presents sources of toxins in the wetlands and describes how toxins can harm the environment.

Give Water a Hand – Action Guide (EPA)
An extensive program on the importance of the protection of water, including activities and research projects on how to ensure the water quality of a certain area. Grades 4-8.

Can Sea Water Freeze? – Activity (NASA)
Freeze liquids of varying salinity; learn how salinity relates to the buoyancy of sea ice and icebergs.

Properties of Fresh & Sea Water – Activity (NASA)
Conduct experiments on the boiling point, freezing point, and heat capacity of fresh water and sea water.

Stacking Water – Lesson Plan (SEA)
Students use clear straws to stack colored water of different salinities. Grades 6-12.

Tides Tutorial – Activities (NOAA)
Overview of the complex systems that govern the movement of tides and water levels. The Roadmap to Resources complements the information in the tutorial with additional information and data from NOAA and other reliable resources.

Waters of the Earth – Lesson Plan (SEA)
Students create a visual display showing the distribution of water on earth. Grades K-10.

Evaporation Investigation – Activity (NASA)
Observe and understand the process of evaporation. Grades 1-6.

Magnificent Ground Water Connection – Activities (EPA)
Printable lessons and worksheets on ground water, the water cycle, water conservation, water contamination, and water protection. Grades K-12.

Morphie’s Great Water Ride Adventure – Activities
Learn about the water cycle by riding through it with Morphie Raindrop. Grade 2.

Thirstin’s Water Cycle (EPA)
Students control the water cycle as they learn in this interactive, animated activity. Grades 1-5.

Water Cycle: Now You See It, Now You Don't – Activities (NASA)
Learn about the relationship between temperature and condensation. Grades 2-5.

Water Cycle Game – Activity (NOAA)
Explains the complexity of the water cycle through role-playing as a molecule of water.

Fragile Fringe – Activities (USGS)
Guide for teaching about coastal wetlands.

What is a Watershed? – Videos
Three educational videos about watersheds: “What is a Watershed”, "Everyone Impacts a Watershed”, and “Potential Sources of Pollution.”

Water Sourcebooks (EPA)
Environmental education program explains the water management cycle, showing how it affects all aspects of the environment. All 324 activities include hands-on investigations, fact sheets, reference materials, and a glossary of terms. Grades K-12.

Density: Sea Water Mixing & Sinking – Activity (NASA)
Uses temperature-salinity (T-S) diagrams to understand seawater density. Grades 6-12.

Dive In! – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
How do buoyancy, pressure, and light affect the work of underwater scientists? Archimedes’ Principle and how light is affected as it passes through water are investigated; students compare and contrast atmospheric and underwater pressure. Grades 9-12.

Electrolysis of Salt Water – Activities (NASA)
Conduct an experiment to see that water can be split into its constituent ions through the process of electrolysis. Grades 9-12.

Liquid Rainbow – Activities (NASA)
Use analytical thinking by devising schemes to stack solutions of different densities. Grades 1-5.

Potato Float – Activities (NASA)
Understand how the same object can both sink and float, depending on its density relative to a fluid. Grades 4-8.

Locate Your Watershed (EPA)
Locate your watershed by entering your ZIP code or the name of a stream, city, tribe, lake, school, or airport. Find out what citizen groups are actively trying to protect your watershed, what role your watershed plays in the national watershed network, current water use data, and more.

Off Base – Lesson Plan (NOAA)
Students learn to: define pH and buffer; explain in general terms the carbonate buffer system of seawater; explain Le Chatelier’s Principle; predict how the carbonate buffer system of seawater will respond to a change in concentration of hydrogen ions; identify how an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide might affect the pH of the ocean; and discuss how this alteration in pH might affect biological organisms. Grades 9-12.

Water Analysis Lesson – Activity
Basic water analysis lesson.

Lessons on the Lake: Rollin' Down the River: Riverine Systems – Activities (USGS)
Teaches about river systems and watersheds.

The Global Water Sampling Project – Activities
International cooperative project includes resources and lessons about water quality.

Louisiana 2006 Water Quality Assessment Report (EPA)
Report on water quality levels for Louisiana.

Mississippi River Water Quality: Implications for Coastal Restoration (CWPPRA/USGS)
Secondary-level or teacher resource bulletin tying water quality to coastal restoration efforts.

Louisiana Hydrowatch (USGS)
Hydrologic data for Louisiana, including data collection sites and maps, best for secondary classrooms.