Sunday, October 21, 2012

Water Testing Project

Last week, my students and I participated in the "Water Testing Project" organized by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of Peace Corps Ukraine. EWG was awarded a grant by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers association of Northern California (RPCV NorCal) to conduct water testing in every oblast of Ukraine. I conducted a lesson for 5th graders about water pollution in Russian, with the help of one of our English teachers Liliya Nikolaievna.

with the 5B class that participated in this project. 
Most people in Ukraine either drink water drawn from a well or straight from the tap. Some people (who can afford it) buy bottled water from trucks that drive around selling distilled water, and very few Ukrainians have water filters such as Brita pitchers. Peace Corps Volunteers in Ukraine are told not to drink water straight from the tap -- each town has its own legends of people losing teeth or developing health issues because of the local water. Liliya and I taught about the different sources of water pollution and the dangers of water pollution to the environment and to people.

Water is important for bathing!
These kids were super excited for their 1st lesson taught with a projector.
Liliya discussing the translation of the video with the students. 
Next, we watched a short video showing a news report on water pollution in Ukraine. Since these are only 5th graders, we read the translated transcript of the video in Ukrainian first. Then we looked at a table of different chemicals that can be found in tap water, and discussed the different sources of these chemicals and their effects on the body.
Reading the chemical chart - some of them didn't know what chemicals like sulfate, nitrate, etc were because they don't have Chemistry class yet. 
After that, the students worked in 4 groups to count and sort out different "chemicals" that were found in their "water" (a Ziploc bag filled with small squares of paper with different colored dots drawn on them). They graphed their results on a worksheet and then presented them to the class.
Explaining what each different dot means. 
Counting and sorting the little pieces of paper. 
The last part of the project was everyone's favorite - the part where we actually tested the water! We used small plastic cups, filled with tap water from the school bathrooms. We did the water tests together, so that I could make sure that each testing strip was kept in the water for the right amount of time. We recorded the results of the tests and then sent them back to EWG to be included in the water testing map of Ukraine!

Tanya dipping the test strip into the cup. 
One of the boys testing the copper level of the water. 
The test strip turned orange! 
For more information about this water testing project, you can go to the EWG website - you can find all the lesson plans and check out the interactive map of the water test results from every oblast! My project hasn't been added to the map yet (for Kharkiv oblast), so here are our results:


Test for:
Actual Values
Dangerous Values
Bacteria (E. Coli)
 (not completed)
>0
Chloride
500
> 250 mg/L
F. Chlorine
0.25
>4.0 ppm
Copper
0.5
>1.3 ppm
Iron
0
>0.3 ppm
Mercury
0.002
>2.0 ppb
Sulfate
0
>250 ppm
Nitrate
0
>10 ppm
Nitrite
0
>1.0 ppm
pH
7.5
<6 .5=".5" or="or">8.5
Alkalinity
350
No general standards, although 20-200mg is typical for freshwater
Hardness
425
Values:
Soft (0-120)
Hard (121-425)
Very Hard (>425)

2 comments:

Matt Cutts said...

Everyone can not afford bottled water because it is costly. Water testing equipments are easy solution to check the water quality and it is the responsibility of state to provide clean drinking water to its citizens.

Sampling Waste Water

Testing Laboratory said...

Your blog is very informative........

Water Testing

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