Research Study: Industrial and Agricultural Water Management | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M4B:U2

Research Study: Industrial and Agricultural Water Management

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In this unit, students continue to conduct close readings and engage in independent research into the ways that both industry and agriculture currently use fresh water resources and how sustainable water management could be improved. Students keep a researcher's notebook in which they document their research findings, generate supporting research questions, and analyze the credibility of their sources as they determine how different authors use evidence to prove their points. In the mid-unit assessment, students engage in a simulated research task focused on water management strategies (RI.7.9, W.7.7, W.7.8, L.7.4c, L.7.4d). The assessment will incorporate selected response and short constructed response questions in order to assess students' ability to research.

After the mid-unit assessment, students engage in a structured decision-making process to address the question: Which category of water management would be a good place to begin to make the way we manage water more sustainable?The process guides students to consider the information they gathered while researching, as well as the consequences and impact on stakeholders of each possible position. This leads students to the two-part end of unit assessment. In Part 1, students engage in a Fishbowl discussion about the possible positions they can take (SL.7.1). In Part 2, students will formally present their position (SL.7.4, SL.7.5, SL.7.6).

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How can I use the research process to answer questions and generate more?
  • How do I best determine what sources to use while researching?
  • How do I make an informed decision?
  • What are the consequences of how industry and agriculture use water?
  • What are the first steps of managing water more sustainably?
  • More sustainable agricultural and industrial water management can have a big impact on the planet's fresh water.
  • Research requires finding high-quality sources and relevant information.
  • Making informed decisions includes weighing evidence and considering personal values.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read informational texts about water management and sustainability. However, the module intentionally incorporates Science concepts and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content.

These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the Next Generation Science Standards:
Influence of Engineering, Technology, and Science on Society and the Natural World

All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short- and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.

The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes
Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land (MS-ESS2-4).

Earth and Human Activity
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capital consumption of natural resources impact earth's systems.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
by Charles Fishman
One per student
ISBN: 978-1439102084, 1439102082


Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions

Invite someone with water management expertise from a local business, farm, or government office to contribute to the students' understanding of agricultural and industrial water management.

Visit a farm or business that has implemented sustainable water management.

Prepare students to share their findings with community stakeholders such as local farmers, business people, or government officials with a goal of educating their community about more sustainable water management.

Students can make formal speeches based on their position. Consider providing an outside audience as well: parents, community members, or students from other schools.

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