Can students improve water quality for our planet?

Water is essential for life. All living things depend upon it. Yet every day, our actions contribute to pollution that is detrimental to our waterways—and ultimately our watersheds. In this project, students will take action to protect our watersheds. They will investigate water samples to determine what’s in their water, and investigate ways to improve water quality. Then, they’ll share what they’ve learned by creating a fundraiser to raise money for a charity that focuses on improving water quality and water pollution issues.

Imagine if the actions we take now to protect our watersheds resulted in cleaner and more sustainable waterways. What a difference this would make for all of Earth’s living creatures!

Project Plan and Resources

Learning Targets


Lesson 1: Students understand what watersheds are, and why it is important to keep them clean.

Lesson 2: Students understand how watersheds relate to their Hydrologic Unit Code.

Lesson 3: Students understand the role of topography in defining watershed boundaries.

Lesson 4: Students understand the process of water sample collection and analysis.

Lesson 5: Students explore the water issues that exist in our world.

Lesson 6: Students collaboratively plan a fundraiser to improve the world.

Lesson 7: Students refine their fundraiser to improve its quality.

Lesson 8: Students work well with others to implement their plan for a fundraiser.

For lesson descriptions, download the project overview.

For K–8 content connections, download the content correlations.

Online Resources

Interactive Games and Activities

  • “Water You Gonna Do About It?” Challenge*
  • Connected by Water Activity
  • Fundraiser Planning Activity
  • Voting Stars Cut-outs
  • Water Quality Survey
  • Water Sample Analysis Spreadsheet

Websites and Videos

  • Chrome Music Lab
  • The World’s Watersheds Map
  • Hydrologic Unit Code Locator
  • PBS Kids: Build a Watershed
  • PBS Kids: Follow the Water
  • Skype a Scientist
  • Video: Cheru’s Journey
  • Video: Earth to Blorb: Water!
  • Video: Kamama’s Journey
  • Video: Powers of Ten
  • Video: Spaced Out
  • Video: The Water Cycle
  • Video: The Water Cycle | The Dr. Binocs Show
  • Video: Water, Water Everywhere
  • Video: What Is A Watershed?
  • Water and the Earth
  • Water within Reach Article
  • Watershed Rap*

Additional Resources

  • Book List
  • Fundraiser Ideas*
  • Charity Matching Chart
  • Home Letter
  • K-2 Cutting Stars
  • K-2 Student Job Tracking Chart
  • K-2 Worldwide Water Issues
  • Kid-Safe Search Sites
  • Press Release
  • Reflection Journal
  • Student Job Tracking Chart
  • Student Self-Assessment Rubric
  • Teacher Assessment Rubric
  • Virtual Fundraiser Ideas
  • Virtual Student Edition
  • Water Testing Resource
  • Worldwide Water Issues Guide

All lessons include:

About the Author

Becky Schnekser

5th Grade Teacher
Cape Henry Collegiate
Norfolk, VA

Each Blue Apple Project Includes:

Becky Schnekser

5th Grade Teacher
Cape Henry Collegiate
Norfolk, VA

Hello! I’m Becky Schnekser, a veteran teacher with a passion for field science; bringing the field to the classroom, and classroom to the field. I’m a National Geographic Certified Educator and Trainer, Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, and Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Award winner. In 2018 alone, I traveled to Peru, Galapagos, and the George Washington National Forest to complete field expeditions in order to bring my passion for field science into classrooms worldwide. As a member of these expedition teams, I used the field experience to inform my own classroom instruction, scale and replicate fieldwork with students, as well as to create learning activities for classrooms worldwide through the National Geographic Educator Community. I’m a consultant and curriculum writer for STEM toy companies such as Lego, DEMCO, Sphero, and LittleBits, bringing expert classroom pedagogical insight to the table.