University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
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This activity involves a tour of the local waste water treatment plant, where the students learn about the waste water treatment process. Following the tour the students write up a paper describing the water's path from residential housing, through the treatment plant until discharge into the local river. This activity links the everyday activities of students to course material.
This activity has been used in an introductory level geology course comprised mostly of non-majors, but have also used in an upper-level undergraduate hydrogeology course for majors. I have used it in my Environmental Geology course
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
This activity is done after the topic of groundwater and water resources have been introduced in lecture.
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
The goal of this activity is to get the student to link lecture material on water resources and waste disposal with their lives.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
It is also the goals of this activity to develop the students' ability to write papers with scientific content and learn how to find and use references in their writing.
Description of the activity/assignment
Before this activity the students will have heard about groundwater and water resources through lecture to give them a background on where our drinking water comes from. The activity involves a tour of the local wastewater treatment plant where the students told about the treatment processes and shown the treatment facility. They are also introduced to the water quality testing done at the plans and they learn about the energy usage/management at the plant. As part of the activity they write up a paper on the processes in the treatment process from the time water enters the plant until it exits. The students are encouraged before hand to ask questions to ensure that they gather the needed information. This always means that each tour has a slightly different content based on these questions.
Determining whether students have met the goals
The papers are evaluated based on; the understanding of the waste water treatment processes, the quality of writing and correct use of references.
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Teaching materials and tips