An environmental researcher wearing red rubber gloves pours water out of a green bottle.

There’s WHAT in My Water?!

How safe is my [water, air, soil, food]?

Project Summary

Students identify and research harmful chemicals in their community and propose solutions to minimize the impact of these chemicals. They partner with local or regional environmental stewardship organizations to discuss the most pressing environmental issues and the chemicals associated with those issues (some examples are lead/mercury in water/food supply, smog and air quality, brownfields and chemical hazards—you may wish to provide students with a short list of locally relevant issues) and identify ways to address those issues within the local community.

As part of this process, students reflect on the political/economic context surrounding the presence of these chemicals in a community—including understanding who is most impacted by these hazards and how the hazards came to be present. Students learn about the chemical pathways and bonding properties of the pollutant (both within the body and in the environment), along with chemical reactions that can effectively neutralize the pollutant in the environment.