moorpark, is your dinner polluting our stream? inquiry-based learning by: conni simons purpose: what effect do fertilizers have on th
Moorpark, Is Your Dinner Polluting Our Stream?
By: Conni Simons
Purpose: What effect do fertilizers have on the Arroyo stream below
the farmland in Moorpark, California?
Grade level: High School and above
California State Standards: at the end of the lesson
M oorpark is by nature a small agricultural community. The
Arroyo stream runs through Moorpark and there are numerous farms
located on each side of the waterway. Farmers tend to use fertilizer
for their crops in order to have large crop yields. When the farmers
water their crops, the fertilizer runs into the Arroyo.
1. If fertilizers are used, what would be the financial cost to clean
up the Arroyo
2. How would eliminating the use of fertilizers affect the farmers? Go
Part 2: Field Test Number 1
T he Arroyo in Moorpark seems to be contaminated. Students
will visually look and take pictures at the aquatic testing site.
Students will be knowledgeable about the indigenous plants and animals
found in the stream.
1. What types of indigenous plants ands animals can you find?
2. Are there any exotic plants and animals present?
P art 3: Field Test Number 2
The Arroyo in Moorpark seems to be contaminated. Students will test
the stream at the same point every week for nine weeks, at the same
time, and day.
(Example: every Saturday at 10:00 a.m., at the same spot.) The tests
will be run at the site. Students will need to take the temperature,
alkalinity, pH, CO2, Dissolved Oxygen (D.O), phosphate, ammonia, and
nitrates. Each group will run three tests for each week to have an
Each group will need to graph their results for each test run.
1. Explain each graph for each specific test. Does the stream meet the
requirements for a “good and clean” natural stream for the Moorpark
at the environmental protection agencies ranges for the acceptable
2. If any of the tests are above or below the acceptable standards,
explain what can
be done to improve the water quality for each unacceptable test.
3. If fertilizers are present, what exotic plants and animals are
4. If fertilizers are present, what are the effects on the natural
plants and animals?
Part 4: Field Test Number 3
P esticide testing
The pesticide tests will be ran at weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. Students
will be required to ask farmers if any pesticides have been sprayed.
If so, what type, how often is it done, and by what means is it
Students will collect water at the site and send the samples to their
local college to be test, since the high school does not have the
facilities to run the pesticide tests.
1. Were any pesticides present? If so, what were they?
2. If there were pesticides present, are they inorganic or organic?
soluble are they in water?
3. If you found pesticides, what are the effects on the plants and
California State Standards: Ecology
6. Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects.
As a basis for
understanding this concept:
a. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of
organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.
b. Students know how to analyze changes in an ecosystem resulting from
changes in climate, human activity, introduction of nonnative species,
or changes in population size.
e. Students know a vital part of an ecosystem is the stability of its
producers and decomposers.
g. * Students know how to distinguish between the accommodation of an
individual organism to its environment and the gradual adaptation of a
lineage of organisms through genetic change.
Investigation & Experimentation - Grades 9 to 12
1. Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and
conducting careful investigations. As a basis for understanding this
concept and addressing the content in the other four strands, students
should develop their own questions and perform investigations.
a. Select and use appropriate tools and technology (such as
computer-linked probes, spreadsheets, and graphing calculators) to
perform tests, collect data, analyze relationships, and display data.
b. Identify and communicate sources of unavoidable experimental error.
c. Identify possible reasons for inconsistent results, such as sources
of error or uncontrolled conditions.
d. Formulate explanations by using logic and evidence.
f. Distinguish between hypothesis and theory as scientific terms.
g. Recognize the usefulness and limitations of models and theories as
scientific representations of reality.
h. Read and interpret topographic and geologic maps.
i. Analyze the locations, sequences, or time intervals that are
characteristic of natural phenomena (e.g., relative ages of rocks,
locations of planets over time, and succession of species in an
j. Recognize the issues of statistical variability and the need for
k. Recognize the cumulative nature of scientific evidence.
l. Analyze situations and solve problems that require combining and
applying concepts from more than one area of science.
m. Investigate a science-based societal issue by researching the
literature, analyzing data, and communicating the findings. Examples
of issues include irradiation of food, cloning of animals by somatic
cell nuclear transfer, choice of energy sources, and land and water
use decisions in California.
n. Know that when an observation does not agree with an accepted
scientific theory, the observation is sometimes mistaken or fraudulent
(e.g., the Piltdown Man fossil or unidentified flying objects) and
that the theory is sometimes wrong (e.g., the Ptolemaic model of the
movement of the Sun, Moon, and planets).