After our Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, the Grade 3 class became concerned with the litter on the playground. They were worried that it would blow onto the road and get washed down into the storm drains, which go directly into the river.They took action, by cleaning up the playground, making posters, and going into each of the classrooms to talk about saving the river by reducing playground litter.


We had fun sorting all the garbage.Some groups sorted by size.Some groups sorted by kind of material and some groups sorted by colour. Altogether, we picked up 183 pieces of garbage. After sorting the garbage we graphed the garbage on the computer.


We researched and presented various ways our own rivers & water are being mistreated.

Healthy Rivers

  • We have been learning about healthy rivers. You will see lots of plants and animals around a healthy river.
  • Plants and trees are needed around rivers.
    Roots hold the soil together and keep it from eroding away
  • Cattails filter the water and make it clean
  • Trees make shade to keep the water temperature low for fish.
  • Fish can hide from enemies under fallen logs.

Litter & Garbage

  • Did you know that that piece of paper from your candy that you threw on the ground, might end up in the gutter and then go down the storm drain, directly to the river?
  • Did you know that if everybody throws away 3 1/2 pounds of litter a day we will soon be living on a world of garbage?
  • We need to use garbage cans properly. We can buy products with less packing so there will not be as much garbage.
  • Liquids leak out of dumps, and pollute rivers. Throwing away hazardous material pollutes our rivers. These should be taken to a depot for proper disposal.


  • We made a poster and model about automobiles and rivers.
  • We learned that cars with oil, gas and antifreeze leaks can pollute the rivers.
  • These will run into the storm drains, into the river, when it rains or if someone washes the car and lets it run down the curb.
  • Gas emissions will go up in the air and come down as acid rain.
  • One way to reduce car pollution is to carpool or walk or bike.

Global Warming

Becky and I learned that:

  • Global warming is a threat world wide.
  • It causes health problems and affects animal habitats
  • It causes the sea level to rise over periods of time and
  • The glaciers are melting and the polar bears have no place to rest so many are dying

Cattle & Ranchers

  • Gavin and I made a powerpoint presentation on cattle and ranchers. We studied and effect of cattle on rivers and streams.
  • Cattle pollute the water by pooping in it when they go for a drink.
  • Did you know that a full grown cow can put as much pressure as a bulldozer on the soil? When they walk to the stream, they break down the soil and it goes into the river. This kills all the grass and plants that grow on the bank and affects the river's ecosystem.


  • Did you know that mining uses up 1% of the world's water?
  • When water is withdrawn for mining, less is returned to the earth than was taken out.
  • When the water is returned, it is dirty and polluted with toxins such as lead, mercury pyrite, sediment, and acid
    runoff. Toxins can kill plants, fish and insects.


  • An example of flooding is what happened in Calgary last June.
  • During floods, water comes in contact with what it shouldn't, such as gasoline, oil, pesticides and non-biodegradable garbage.
  • This contaminates the water as it goes into the river. It kills insects, fish and plants.
  • Floods also cause erosion and soil is washed away into the river, covering gravel where fish could spawn.


  • Farmers use pesticides to make fruits and veggies look really good and tasty.
  • Did you know that pesticides are manmade chemicals in the form of powders, sprays and gases that are used to kill insects?
  • Long ago Rachel Carson wrote that DDT for pest control had almost wiped out bald eagles.
  • When it rains, pesticides run into the ground and rivers. We learned that organic pesticides don't hurt the river like man- made pesticides do.

Global Warming

Did you know:

  • Africa feels the effects of global warming the most of all.
  • Over the past 100 years the average temperature of the Earth has increased 1/2 degree Celsius?
  • Carbon dioxide, methane gas, and nitrous oxide cause global warming. Carbon dioxide is caused by human activities that burn fossil fuels. Methane comes from burning and decaying garbage and nitrous oxide comes from chemical fertilizers used in agriculture.



  • We found out that some people don't care about our water. They dump sewage into rivers and oceans.
  • Halifax and places in Newfoundland dump lots of sewage.
  • Did you know that Victoria BC dumps 26 million gallons of raw sewage into the Pacific Ocean a day!! The people voted against building a treatment plant because it wouldn't look nice. They should remember that "what we do to our rivers and oceans we do to ourselves and our neighbours."

Wasting Water

  • Davis and I have been studying wasting water. We learned that you can only live 3 days without water.
  • Do you know how many fish live in 52,400 litres of water? That's how much water you could be flushing down the toilet each year.
  • You could save water with a new low flush toilet.
  • Another way you can save water is by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth.


A river poster was originally used in October to help the grade 3 students gain a better understanding of ecosystems, and how all living things in a particular environment are connected. Students talked about how culverts, bridges, fishermen, automobiles, factories, and animals affect other living beings.

The poster was used again for a French lesson. Students practiced French vocabulary by looking at the colours in the poster. We talked about how artists often use many different colours to represent an image. For instance, the river in the poster is not only blue. It is many different shades of blue, pink, grey, green, brown, white, and beige (among others). This led into a discussion about looking closely at art and how our eyes often play tricks on us.

To begin our class art project, we cut the poster into 28 pieces and made a six-section grid on each piece. Keeping proportion in mind, each student was responsible for one section of the poster. If you look closely, you can see the grid lines they used as their guide.

The students practiced looking at shapes, colours, textures, tinting and shading. After writing a short fictional story using their poster piece as a prompt, and some mini lessons on shading and other pencil crayon techniques, the students began sketching the overall shapes of their picture. Working grid by grid, they added colour, shading, tinting, and textures to complete their section.

When each piece was completed, the puzzle was assembled. The students were then able to see how their work fit together and the importance of each piece of the puzzle.

Next we looked at the rivers in the countries we are studying in Social Studies. We researched the Amazon in Peru, the Dnipro in the Ukraine, the Ganges in India, and sources of water in Tunisia. Students found that these countries have contaminated their rivers too through farming and fertilizers, mining, sewage disposal, factories, and raising livestock etc. The Ukraine suffered even more pollution with the Chernobyl accident. We also kept track of the news around the world concerning river contamination by keeping news clippings for discussion.

As we began to study the countries of Peru, India, etc. Mrs. Al Adani, one of our parents, came to show us her clothes and jewelery from India.

Mr. Rick Castiglione came to speak to the grade three and four classes about how the lack of clean water has affected the eyesight of children in Africa and India.

Tina Donkers, a former geologist and Glendale parent, came to help teach our Rock and Mineral Unit. After having fun checking out the properties of minerals and rocks, we talked about the effect of mining on our environment and rivers. We discussed open pit mining and contamination of rivers from mine tailings. We were able to find many examples and pictures of this in developing countries and learned how it has an impact on basic human rights. We found out that at present Canadian mining, oil and gas companies do not have strict regulations for operating outside Canada and this often affects the environment and therefore the people of other countries.



Copyright © 2006 J. Grimm, N. Klinger and L. Ranta

Copyright for students' work remains with the authors.