K-12 Education Activities

As part of our education program, ACC Stormwater offers activities and presentations to classrooms, educators, after school groups, scout troops, and clubs. Contact the Program Education Specialist, Cecile Riker, at stormwater@athensclarkecounty.com if you are interested in having us come visit your group.

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Elementary School Activities


Pollution Postcards
GPS: S2E3, S3L1, S3L2
Time: 0.5 to 1 hour
Grades: 2-4
Class size: 30 students

Students explore the inter-connectivity of ecosystems by learning about aquatic food webs, biodiversity, the components of health habitats, and the impact of human actions and pollution on those ecosystems. Students demonstrate and communicate their knowledge by creating colorful postcards.

Middle School & High School Activities


Physical/Chemical Water Sampling
GPS: S6CS9, S7CS9, S8CS9, S8P1
Time: 1 hour
Grades: 6-12th
Class size: 30 students

Students become scientists performing hands on chemical and physical water quality sampling. Water samples can either be brought to the classroom or students can visit a stream to conduct testing for pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and turbidity. Multiple testing methods can be used to show differences in techniques and test results. Collected data and land use information allow students to analyze data and make inferences into the quality of the water and the sources of pollutants.

Macroinvertebrate Stream Sampling
GPS: SB3b, SB4a, SEV2, SEV3, SEV5, S6CS9, S7CS9, S8CS9, S7L1, S7L4
Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Grades: 6-12th
Class size: 30 students

The best way to learn about water is to jump on in! Water samples can either be brought to the classroom or students can visit a stream to collect macroinvertebrates from their natural habitat under stream rocks and in leaf packs. Students identify the type and amount of macroinvertebrates using guides and a dichotomous key. Along with provided land use information and maps, students use the macroinvertebrate data to make inferences about water quality and pollution sources in their watershed. Contributions can be made toward transportation fees when possible. Let your students get some real hands-on science experience at the stream!

Service-Learning Activities


Stormdrain Decaling
GPS: S3L2, S4L1, S5E1
Time: 1 hour
Grades: 4-12th
Class size: Any, great for science clubs

Do your students know that stormdrains lead directly to our rivers and streams? That means that anything dumped or washed down a stormdrain will pollute some of our most precious water resources! Students glue decals onto the stormdrains on school property or a nearby neighborhood. The decals tell people “No dumping, drains to stream,” and list to which stream all the rain near your school drains. Students then become the educators themselves as they distribute door hangers explaining the decals to all classrooms.

Rain Barrel Making
GPS: SEV2, SEV5, SS8CG1, SS8CG5
Time: 45 minutes
Grades: 1st-12th
Class size: Any

Does your school want some rain barrels? Rain barrels help to conserve water and reduce erosion from stormwater runoff. They are also great classroom teaching tools! Stormwater staff will give a brief lecture about the importance of water collection devices and then have the students help to build rain barrels for their school. All materials are provided but the school must make installation arrangements on their own. It’s easy, fun, and saves your school water and money! Materials are available to paint the rain barrels upon special request, or instructions to paint them at a later date.

School Yard Stream Buffer Restoration
Time: Varies depending on desired length of project
Grades: 4th-8th
Class size: Any

Do you have a stream that runs through your school property? Is it surrounded with invasive species and lacking a protective buffer of native trees and shrubs? If you have these issues with your stream, we can conduct a buffer restoration project with your class to eradicate invasive species using chemical-free methods, pick up trash, and plant native species. Materials are provided. If you do not have a stream on your school property and would like to conduct a buffer restoration, there are County sites that can be used.

Watershed Litter Pick-up
Time: Varies depending on desired length of project
Grades: 1st-8th
Class size: Any

No matter how far from a stream, pollutants such as trash, paint, and auto fluids find their way into our waterways when it rains. We can arrange to conduct a litter pick up on your school site or at a nearby stream to get students involved in protecting our water resources. Materials are provided.

Activity Lesson Plans to Download


Rain Drop Relay Grades K-5
This activity allows students to simulate the journey of a rain drop while learning about the water cycle and common stormwater pollutants.

Pooper Scooper Relay Grades K-6
This activity allows students to learn how pet waste enters our waterways and the negative impact it can have on water quality. Students will understand the importance of cleaning up after pets and the best way to dispose of their waste.

Pollution Postcards
Grades K-8
This activity incorporates writing and drawing while teaching students about the common pollutants found in our water sources.

How to build a rain barrel Grades K-8
A hands-on rain barrel lesson that incorporates the visual arts.

Riparian Buffer Bracelets
Grades 6-8
This craft forces students to think critically about common sources of water pollution while learning about Riparian stream buffers, what they are made up of, and how they positively impact water quality.

Macroinvertebrate Stream Sampling Grades 7-12
Students will learn about freshwater ecosystems while they collect macroinvertebrates from their natural habitats.

How healthy is your stream? Grades 9-12
Students perform hands-on chemical and physical water quality testing and utilize their creativity to create visual representations of water quality.

Combining Science with Civics Grades 9-12
An exercise that exposes students to the ways in which stormwater pollution affects different stakeholders and members of our society.

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