Objective: Students will learn that many factors influence water quality in a watershed. Proper care of their environment can have a positive effect on water everywhere. Students will also have an opportunity to problem solve by using Best Management Practices.

Materials: General Materials: colored chalk (one per team), 11x17 color construction paper, cut into 10 squares, copies of each Pit Stop problem card, timer (stop watch or wrist watch with second hand).

Other Materials (Outlined per Pit Stop):
Pit Stop #1 - empty (clean paint can and empty (clean) paint thinner container
Pt Stop #2 - bag of potting soil (empty or partially full), picture of skyscraper building (or other type of building) and a few pieces of gravel
Pit Stop #3 - several leaves from a tree
Pit Stop #4 - empty (clean) can of motor oil and empty (clean) gasoline can
Pit Stop #5 - various pieces of litter (candy wrappers, pop cans, etc.)
Pit Stop #6 - picture of a barnyard and/or some plastic farm animals (cows and hogs)
Pit Stop #7 - miniature truck, school buss, and/or car. Copy of the Dump No Waste, Drains To Stream stencil
Pit Stop #8 - picture of a stream or creek
Pit Stop #9 - picture of a factory (preferably with smoke stacks) and a nickel coin
Pit Stop #10 - empty (clean) container of laundry detergent, empty (clean) container(s) of household cleaners and one used battery (any size).
(Note: Instead of teacher furnishing all the materials from the classroom, you may want to divide the list between teams and have team members bring items from their homes.)

Background: Virtually every metropolitan area in the US has non-point source pollution problems. Most are caused by some type of runoff. Two critical factors affect the amount of water pollution generated from runoff: the proportion of land covered by impervious surfaces (parking lots, home, etc.) and the system used to carry stormwater runoff to the nearby watershed. Runoff carries sediment, nutrients, heavy metals and other hazardous substances to the stormwater receiving system. The most common sources of urban sediment are construction sites. Other sources include smokestacks and car emissions and sand or salt used on roads in the winter.

Farmland runoff is another significant source of non-point source pollution. Farming is the single largest cause of land alteration in the US. The large amount of land involved and the need to clear land surfaces for crops and animal waste disposal all contribute to non-point source pollution problems. Best Management Practices have been instituted nationwide to help correct and control, prevent and reduce pollutant movement throughout the farming community.

Other non-point source pollutant derivatives are streambanks, roadsides, and in some areas, logging and mining operations.

Teacher will need to draw a runoff-road rally track on the chalk board. We suggest a simple bar-graph (See figure). You will need to make copies of the Pit Stop Problem cards and disburse at the correlating Pit Stop. Cut a sheet of 11x17 colored construction paper into 10 squares. One different colored sheet per team. Each team will need its own set of answer squares. We would suggest that you use the same color paper as the colors designated to each team (i.e., Team Red will need 10 red squares, Team Blue will need 10 blue squares, etc.).

Divide class into small groups (5 or less). Assign each group a color. This color will signify on the rally graph where each team is during the race. After completion of each Pit Stop, teacher will need to add to the graph to indicate what progress the team has made in the race.

Object of the game is for teams to visit each Pit Stop (in no specific order) and identify the problem there, based on the materials that are on display. Then the team has 2 minutes to decide upon a solution to the problem they've identified. They are to write down their solution and at the end of 2 minutes, each Pit Boss will collect their answer card. The teacher will collect all the answer cards from each Pit Boss. The first team or teams to pass the finish line wins.

Rally Participants:
Teacher: You are the game facilitator. After explaining the Rules of the Road, you will need to circulate throughout each Pit area, picking up the answer cards from each Pit Boss after each Rally team solves the problem at the Pit Stop. You will have to determine by reading each team's answer whether to move that team further on the Rally trail. This is done by adding segments to the bar graph to show each team's progress throughout the race.

Helper-timer: Your responsibility is to time each Pit Stop. We suggest giving each team 30 seconds to discern the problem and 2 minutes to solve it.

Pit Boss: (Note: this person can be any volunteer - either a parent or member of the class) Your responsibility is to explain what the materials are at your Pit Stop. Each Pit Stop's problem is clearly explained on the Pit Stop Problem card. Each team has 2 minutes to solve the problem. It is your responsibility to collect the answer card from the team for the Teacher to collect.

Rally Team: Team members are responsible for driving from Pit Stop to Pit Stop on the rally course to solve each non-point source problem. After your team has solved the problem, someone on the team must write the solution on the colored square. Remember there may be more than one solution to the problem! After the Helper-timer ends the time, your team will then pick another "Pit Stop" to go to and solve that problem.

Rules of the Road:
Each team is required to drive to 8 different Pit Stops. There are a total of 10 Pit Stops that can be driven to; the teams can miss 2 problems/solutions or choose not to visit 2 and still win the rally (If teacher chooses, the team that finished closest to the finish line can be the winner!).

Team members must first identify the problem that has occurred at that Pit Stop. Each team will have 30 seconds to identify the non-point source pollution problem. Then, team members will have 2 minutes to solve the problem, using ideas gleaned form the Best Management Practices that have been discussed in prior activities in class.

Rally Teams can visit each Pit Stop only one time.

Pit Stops can be visited in any order.

The first team or teams to pass the finish line wins.

Develop a survey to learn how people dispose of used motor in your community. Make copies and distribute them to family, friends, and neighbors of students in your class. Collect the surveys, analyze the data and report your findings to the class in the form of a chart or graph. Encourage those who are not presently recycling used oil to start.

Invite an environmental educator from a local nature center, university, city bureau or wildlife and fisheries agent to come to your school to discuss the issue of water pollution and its impact.

Develop a game about non-point source pollution problems and a local surface water body. You make up the game board, the questions and the rules.

Organize a class field trip where you will spend a day doing storm drain stenciling in your town. Contact local officials to obtain permission and maps that show the location of the storm drains in your area. Make sure to follow all safety precautions when stenciling on the streets and be aware of traffic dangers. Paint and supplies information, as well as procedural information is usually available through local government offices, water purveyors or utilities, or through your state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Vocabulary Glossary:
Best Management Practices: Techniques to reduce non-point source pollution

Grade Level:
Middle School

Subject Areas:
Science, Health, Reading

SD Standards for 4th grade:




Problem Solving, Recall, Deductive Thinking

Prior Preparation: Educator should discuss with the class the different types of non-point source pollution. Do some brainstorming to decide the best management practices that should be utilized tosolve each non-point source pollution problem. Some leading questions may be, "Where would runoff be most severe - near a construction site or in a sloping field of corn with grassed waterways?" or "A lot of fertilizer on your lawn will greatly enhance the growth of the grass. What happens to any extra fertilzier that the grass doesn't need?"

best management practices
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