School Improvement in Maryland

The Copper Basin Problem

Copper Basin Mining District

5 E's Lesson Plan

Task Overview

Materials

Student and Teacher Resources


5 E's Lesson Plan

Description of each section of the 5E model Teacher Lessons Core Learning Goal Indicators for each activity
I Engagement:
This activity captures the students' attention, stimulates their thinking, and helps them to access prior knowledge
Lesson 1
PowerPoint slides provide an introduction to the Copper Basin Problem. Students identify environmental issues associated with the copper mines in the Copper Basin Mining District.
Note: a 10-minute DVD, The Copper Basin Project, is available from Glenn Springs Holdings.
http://www.glennsprings-copperbasinproject.com/educate.htm
3.5.1, 3.5.3, 3.6.1
II Exploration:
In this section students are given time to think, plan, investigate, collect and organize information.
Lesson 2
Students design a set of experiments that will address some of the environmental problems and issues in the Copper Basin Mining District. They will employ all of the steps of the scientific method. Students developed the following investigations:
1.2.1, 1.2.3, 1.2.4
Lesson 3
Will Plants Grow in Copper Basin Soil? (Student Investigation 1)


What Chemicals are Found in Copper Basin Soil? (Student Investigation 2)
1.2.2, 1.2.5, 1.3.2, 1.4.1, 1.5.1, 3.5.1, 3.5.3

1.2.2, 1.2.3, 1.2.5, 1.3.1, 1.3.3, 1.4.1, 1.4.2, 1.4.5, 1.5.1, 1.5.2, 3.5.1, 3.5.3
Lesson 4
How Does the Amount of Vegetation Affect Humidity and Temperature? (Student Investigation 3)
1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 3.5.1, 3.5.3
Lesson 5
How Does Acid Rain Affect the Germination of Seeds? (Student Investigation 4)

Optional Investigation: Air sampling for SO2

1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 3.5.3
Lesson 6
What Effect Does Fertilizer Have on the Growth of Plants? (Student Investigation 5)
1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 3.5.3, 3.5.4
III: Explanation:
Students are now involved in an analysis of their own explorations. Their understanding is clarified and modified because of the reflective nature of the activities.
Lesson 7
Students will collect and share all of the data that has been gathered. Through discussion, students will assemble the data and begin to form conclusions. Students may view the remaining slides in the PowerPoint file. Students may present their findings in an appropriate manner. Students may view the remaining slides in the PowerPoint file.
3.6, 1.5
IV Extension:
This section gives students an opportunity to expand and solidify their understanding of the concepts and to apply them in a real-world context.
Lesson 7 (continued)
Students gather information about a local mining operation and assess the effects of mining on the environment. The students will relate what they learned from the Copper Basin problem to this local situation. (Charles County has gravel pits that cause problems similar to those in the Copper Basin.) Students will link electronically with a school in another area to share data about other mining operations. (We shared with a school in Western Pennsylvania about coal mining.)
Goal 1, 3.5.3, 3.5.4, 3.6
V Evaluation:
This performance-based activity helps students to connect all of the pieces of information involved in these lessons.
Lesson 8
Students are assigned the task of presenting the results of a comparative study of the situations investigated. Students developed the rubric and decided upon the project requirements.
Goal 1, 3.6

Task Overview

Grade: 9 - 12
Title: "The Copper Basin Problem"

    This is a unit which covers the effects of abiotic factors on the organisms in a specific environment. It is also a means to reinforce the skills and processes involved in the scientific method and to provide the opportunity for students to design their own experiments and to solve a problem.

    To introduce the unit, students view a PowerPoint file containing images that depict environmental issues related to mining in the Copper Basin Mining District. Students think about the impact that copper mining has had on the environment. Leading questions are used to focus the students on the issues related to coppper mining. Students use the answers to these questions as a starting point to develop a set of activities and laboratory experiments to investigate appropriate topics. During this time, students also use science process skills such as hypothesizing, conceptualizing, and analyzing. The class develops their own unit of study with guidance from the teacher. Because of their personal involvement the students are highly invested in their own learning.

    The unit includes the following concepts and process skills:

    • abiotic factors: temperature, humidity, pH
    • soil composition
    • the water cycle
    • nutrient cycles: nitrogen, carbon
    • interaction of abiotic and biotic factors
    • human impact on an environment
    • scientific inquiry skills: forming hypotheses, data collection, organization and analysis, drawing conclusions
    • dependent and independent variables
    • designing experiments
    • application of knowledge

Materials

 Suggested Materials:
  • Copper Basin PowerPoint
  • Cardboard
  • Chart paper & markers
  • Eye-droppers
  • Goggles
  • Graph paper
  • Humus or compost
  • Local Soil
  • Maps: local and linked area
  • Meter sticks
  • Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Paper towels
  • Petri dishes
  • Plant trays
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Screw-top jars
  • Seeds (corn, pine)
  • Seeds (grass)
  • Simulated Copper Basin Soil
  • Small Cups
  • Soil Tests: pH, P, N, K, S, Cu
  • Sterile Potting Soil
  • Table of Relative Humidity
  • Teaspoon measures (1/8)
  • Thermometers
  • Watch/clock/timer
  • Water Solutions, pH 2--7

Student and Teacher Resources

Teacher’s Guide Lesson 1 | Lesson 2 | Lesson 3 | Lesson 4 | Lesson 5 | Lesson 6 | Lesson 7 | Lesson 8 | Concluding Remarks
Student Section
This section contains samples of investigations developed by students to address the environmental issues in the Copper Basin Mining District.
Student Investigation 1 | Student Worksheet 1 |
Student Investigation 2 | Student Worksheet 2 |
Student Investigation 3 | Student Worksheet 3 |
Student Investigation 4 | Student Worksheet 4 |
Student Investigation 5 | Student Worksheet 5
Evaluation The students and teacher should collaborate to design an appropriate assessment method. My classes developed the following assessment and rubric.
Powerpoint Presentation (PPT 3,845k) of The Copper Basin Problem
Printable version (Acrobat 33k) of Student Section
Sue Gray
High School Biology Teacher
Westlake High School
Charles County, Maryland