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Stream Contamination: Forensics Laboratory Kit

By: The Flinn Staff

Stream Contamination Forensic Laboratory Kit for environmental science allows you to take the role of a forensic scientist and determine who is responsible for a hypothetical massive fish kill.

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A massive fish kill has occurred in the town of Raymond. The townspeople are in an uproar, and extensive efforts are underway to determine why the fish are dying. It is up to your students to take the role of forensic scientists and determine who is responsible. Students will use nitrate and phosphate tests to determine the culprit. Use this great problem-based learning activity to build student interest and let them see how science is used in everyday life. A variety of possible scenarios are presented, and the outcome may be changed from class to class. Includes extensive background information and all the testing materials needed to crack the case. 

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Asking questions and defining problems
Developing and using models
Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
MS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
MS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
HS-LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
HS-LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience
HS-ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Crosscutting Concepts

Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models
Energy and matter
Stability and change

Performance Expectations

MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and percapita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.