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Water: Articles and Activities for Middle School Students

Activities: "Stop Pointless Personal Pollution"

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For Grades 6 - 8

Stop Pointless Personal Pollution! (Full Article) (PDF) (2 pp, 619K)

Stop Pointless Personal Pollution! (Activity Sheets) (PDF) (9 pp, 797K)


Exercise I. Create an Adopt-A-Street Program in Your 'Hood' 
Exercise II. A Suburban Bacterial Dilemma
Exercise III. Phosphates in Your Water


This is a set of exercises based on some of the topics addressed in the accompanying article. They emphasize personal participation and creation of a program. In Exercise I, students are encouraged to take charge of their environment through an Adopt-A-Street program. Exercise 2 is a problem that uses math interpretation to lead students to think about a more water-conservative strategy for car washing. In particular, students are asked to work with fractions. The third exercise uses a case study to evoke thought and discussion among students about pet sources of bacteria in densely populated areas. The last exercise is a lab experiment that leads students into thinking about the effects of phosphates from household fertilizers and detergents on their waterways.

Time Required

Individual exercises are designed to be approximately 1/2 hour to 45 minutes long.

Curricular Standards and Skills

Natural Science

  • stream/pond ecology
  • pollutants
  • lab methods

Language Arts

  • reading comprehension
  • discussion/critical thinking
  • writing


  • fractions
  • percents


  • map reading/geography
  • population density
  • urban related challenges
  • community service


  • acutely toxic
  • chronically toxic
  • impervious
  • integrated pest management
  • nitrogen and phosphorus
  • pesticides
  • storm drain
  • wastewater

Web sites

EPA's Nonpont Source Pollution Prevention page

Water Action Volunteers Storm Drain Stenciling (PDF) (2 pp, 737K) Exit EPA Disclaimer

EPA's Combined Sewer Overflows page

Adopt-A-Street Program Exit EPA Disclaimer , City of Little Rock, Arkansas.

Adopt-A-Street Program, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Northern Virginia Regional Commission Bacteria Research page Exit EPA Disclaimer

U.S. Census Bureau

City of Seattle's page on Preventing Pet Waste Pollution Exit EPA Disclaimer


Middle Schools  |  Stop Pointless Personal Pollution  |   Exercise I  |  Exercise II  |  Exercise III

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