Fermilab LInC Online

(Not in my drinking water!)



 Pre LinC

Student Pages


 Index of Projects

 Staff Development

Subject: Chemistry

Grade Level: 10-12


Urban students are seldom interested in anything that does not effect them directly. They can avoid the water in lakes and streams, however, they cannot avoid water which they consume. Water quality in Milwaukee is always an issue. Remember cryptosporidium?

This unit will be a collaboration between the Chemistry department and the Technology department, as well as, incorporate collaboration between various schools to pool data gathered. Students will be asked to help design and run tests dealing with the concentration of lead that might be found in drinking water.

Learner Description/Environment:

John Marshall High School is an urban public high school with 1500 students of diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The majority of the students are inner city minority youth. Marshall is culmination of 85 percent African American, 7 percent Caucasian, 3 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent Asian individuals. John Marshall High School reflects the diversity of its learners by offering a comprehensive program that includes a School to Work initiative, a broadcasting and technology specialty program, and the recently attained International Baccalaureate program for the college bound.

Time Frame:

This project will take place in the second mark period of the fall semester and will require the entire 6 week mark period to complete. Each class period is 45 minutes.

 Return to Top

Learner Outcomes:

Participants will work cooperatively to gather information related to a specific role and share that information with others.

Participants will standardize the conditions under which the samples are drawn.

Participants will use on-line tools to research specific questions relating to water, to contact experts in the field, and to collaborate with other schools.

Participants will communicate knowledge gained through research through an oral presentation.

Participants will be able to run tests to determine the concentration of lead that exist in their home tap water.

Structure of the Learning:


To introduce the unit, several containers of water (of various quality and rigged on purpose) will be available up front. See scenario. After being served fresh clean water the tables are turned for a refill. After accessing prior knowledge to what is drinkable water and what is not, students will read an article on the quality of drinking water. Once students have read and discussed the article they will be challenged to check the drinking water in their own homes. Students will gather tap water samples from home, as well as school, and analyze them for their quality in regards to lead concentration.

 Return to Top


Students will select the variables that must be controlled in collecting their samples. They must carefully run test to determine lead concentration in their samples and report the data. Meanwhile, in the computer lab, students will be divided into particular roles to investigate how lead filters into drinking water and the effects lead has on the individuals who are exposed to it. In the end students will be responsible for determining what should be done with the information gathered. Then they must follow through on what they propose.


Findings for the test run will be posted to a web site that the students create. An oral report must be presented by each group as to the findings of their research.

Best Use of Technology:

Students will share information and data with other schools throughout the country. Opportunities to access experts in the field will be arranged via e-mail. Research will be conducted through linked sites on the internet. A web page will be created by the students to post their results.


Assessment will be broken up into three categories; laboratory work, collaborative work, and oral presentation.

Laboratory work: the students are accustom to being graded with the lab rubric. For collaborative efforts and on task behavior a daily assignment sheet is available and will be collected for each day in class. Students may work outside of class as well, but they must work in class and file a daily assignment sheet with the teacher. For the collaboration and oral presentation see rubric.

 Return to Top

Project Evaluation:

The teacher will maintain a daily journal to track successes and failures. The journal may also be used to keep track of technical difficulties encountered by the students. This will enable technical problems to be fixed before the next session. Anecdotal records will also be kept in the journal of pertinent conversations with students and events that took place.

Alignment with Standards:

District Standards:

Milwaukee Public Schools K-12

State Standards:

Wisconsin Dept of Public Instruction                                               Science Standards

National Standards:

National Science Educational Standards

 Return to Top

Graphics (buttons) used from ArtToday Online Image and Font Archive

Created for the Fermilab LInC program sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Education Office and Friends of Fermilab, and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.

Author(s): Catherine Wittig & Todd Everson
School: John Marshall International Baccalaureate High School Milwaukee,Wisconsin
Created: March 1, 1999 - Updated: April 25, 1999
URL: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lincon/w99/projects/leaditbe/present.html