Water ecoSTEM Kit: QuickStart Guide

Welcome to the online-accessible version of the Water ecoSTEM kit QuickStart guide! A pdf edition (along with extra resources about TDS testing) is available below.

What can you do with the Water ecoSTEM kit?

Each kit contains supplies to engage a class of 32 students in exciting science and engineering practices as they solve real- world problems and learn about water quality. Here are some of the things students will do, in teams of four:

  • Observe phenomena and ask questions about water quality
  • Test water quality parameters including nutrients (N, P, K) dissolved oxygen, fecal coliform, pH, turbidity, total dissolved solids, conductivity, etc.
  • Collect water samples; identify macroinvertebrates; look for pollution-sensitive or -tolerant indicator species, as a proxy for testing water
  • Investigate sources and effects of ocean plastics
  • Simulate the water cycle and identify effects of ocean plastics
  • Create models to demonstrate groundwater and surface water interaction and contamination
  • Mark storm drains to educate the community about how untreated runoff water flows directly into streams and rivers
  • Engineer a wastewater treatment system model thatfilters “pollutants” from a water sample

What's Included

  • GREEN Water Quality Monitoring Kit
  • pH, TDS, & Cond. Probe
  • Dip Nets
  • Ocean Debris Science

    Investigation Kit

  • Awesome Aquifers Kit

    and clear bioplastic cups

  • Water Cycle kit
  • Charcoal and Alum
  • Safety vests
  • Pairs of shoe covers
  • Storm drain markers and

    adhesive pads

Teaching With Your ecoSTEM Kit

Read more about how you can use your ecoSTEM kit along with this QuickStart guide to teach Next Generation Science Standards!

Tips and Tricks for Teaching Outdoors

Eight tips for how to effectively conduct your classroom in the great outdoors!


Georgia Standards of Excellence in Science


SKE2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to describe the physical attributes of earth materials (soil, rocks, water, and air).

c. Use tools to observe and record physical attributes of soil such as texture and color


SKE2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to describe the physical attributes of earth materials (soil, rocks, water, and air).

a. Ask questions to identify and describe earth materials—soil, rocks, water, and air.


First Grade

S1E1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate weather data to identify weather patterns.

b. Ask questions to identify forms of precipitation such as rain, snow, sleet, and hailstones as either solid (ice) or liquid (water).


S1L1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the basic needs of plants and animals.

b. Ask questions to compare and contrast the basic needs of plants (air, water, light, and nutrients) and animals (air, water, food, and shelter).

c. Design a solution to ensure that a plant or animal has all of its needs met.

Second Grade

S2E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how weather, plants, animals, and humans cause changes to the environment. (Clarification statement: Changes should be easily observable and could be seen on school grounds or at home.)

a. Ask questions to obtain information about major changes to the environment in your community.

b. Construct an explanation of the causes and effects of a change to the environment in your community.


Third Grade

S3L2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the effects of pollution (air, land, and water) and humans on the environment.

a. Ask questions to collect information and create records of sources and effects of pollution on the plants and animals.

b. Explore, research, and communicate solutions, such as conservation of resources and recycling of materials, to protect plants and animals.


Fourth Grade

S4E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to demonstrate the water cycle.

a. Plan and carry out investigations to observe the flow of energy in water as it changes states from solid (ice) to liquid (water) to gas (water vapor) and changes from gas to liquid to solid.

b. Develop models to illustrate multiple pathways water may take during the water cycle (evaporation, condensation, and precipitation). (Clarification statement: Students should understand that the water cycle does not follow a single pathway.)


Fifth Grade

S5E1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to identify surface features on the Earth caused by constructive and/or destructive processes.

a. Construct an argument supported by scientific evidence to identify surface features (examples could include deltas, sand dunes, mountains, volcanoes) as being caused by constructive and/or destructive processes (examples could include deposition, weathering, erosion, and impact of organisms).

b. Develop simple interactive models to collect data that illustrate how changes in surface features are/were caused by constructive and/or destructive processes.

c. Ask questions to obtain information on how technology is used to limit and/or predict the impact of constructive and destructive processes. (Clarification statement: Examples could include seismological studies, flood forecasting (GIS maps), engineering/construction methods and materials, and infrared/satellite imagery.)


Sixth Grade

S6E3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to recognize the significant role of water in Earth processes.

a. Ask questions to determine where water is located on Earth’s surface (oceans, rivers, lakes, swamps, groundwater, aquifers, and ice) and communicate the relative proportion of water at each location.

b. Plan and carry out an investigation to illustrate the role of the sun’s energy in atmospheric conditions that lead to the cycling of water. (Clarification statement: The water cycle should include evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration, infiltration, groundwater, and runoff.)


S6E5. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to show how Earth’s surface is formed.

d. Ask questions to identify types of weathering, agents of erosion and transportation, and environments of deposition. (Clarification statement: Environments of deposition include deltas, barrier islands, beaches, marshes, and rivers.)


High School Biology

SB5. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to assess the interdependence of all organisms on one another and their environment.

a. Plan and carry out investigations and analyze data to support explanations about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems. (Clarification statement: Factors include population size, carrying capacity, response to limiting factors, and keystone species.)

c. Construct an argument to predict the impact of environmental change on the stability of an ecosystem.

d. Design a solution to reduce the impact of a human activity on the environment. (Clarification statement: Human activities may include chemical use, natural resources consumption, introduction of non-native species, greenhouse gas production.)

e. Construct explanations that predict an organism’s ability to survive within changing environmental limits (e.g., temperature, pH, drought, fire).


High School Earth Systems

SES6. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about how life on Earth responds to and shapes Earth’s systems.

  2. Ask questions to investigate and communicate how humans depend on Earth’s land and water resources, which are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geological and environmental processes.
  3. Analyze and interpret data that relates changes in global climate to natural and anthropogenic modification of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans


High School Environmental Science

SEV1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to investigate the flow of energy and cycling of matter within an ecosystem.

c. Develop and use a model to compare and analyze the levels of biological organization including organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, and biosphere.

c. Analyze and interpret data to construct an argument of the necessity of biogeochemical cycles (hydrologic, nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen, and carbon) to support a sustainable ecosystem.

e. Plan and carry out an investigation of how chemical and physical properties impact aquatic biomes in Georgia. (Clarification statement: Consider the diverse aquatic ecosystems across the state such as streams, ponds, coastline, estuaries, and lakes.)

Next Generation Science Standards Alignment