The National Center for Quality Afterschool

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Afterschool Lesson Plan Database

Lesson Plan

Water, Water Everywhere
Subject: Technology
Grade span: 8 to 12
Duration: This project could last at least two months. Daily session length will vary according to how you set your timeline. Some sessions will last longer than others, and some may be repeated.
This lesson was excerpted from the Afterschool Training Toolkit under the promising practice: Gathering and Sharing Information


In this lesson, students and afterschool instructors work with community members to understand their local environment. Students test creek water temperature, measure the Ph, or acidity, and other characteristics of the water. They use digital photography to document their activities as well as handheld computers to record water testing data. When they return to their classroom, they log on to the project Web site, enter their data, and upload their pictures. Technology plays an important role in this lesson as students use an online community to collaborate about similar issues on a global scale.

Learning Goals:



Instructors should determine students' computer skill levels and select appropriate technology tools. Instructors should also have familiarity with any software or equipment used in the lesson, or enlist the help of a volunteer who does. Safety Considerations Safety Considerations:
  • Adults must supervise all data collection and clean-up. Choose the area wisely, looking for the safest environment for students.
  • Students must wear gloves for clean-up and use goggles when any water-testing chemicals are used.
  • Do not collect data when a storm is forecast; observe the sky for rain showers and thunderstorms. Avoid streams in high water.
  • Have a first-aid kit for all outings, sturdy shoes, and proper clothing, including protection from the sun.

What to Do:

Engage students in environmental study. Investigate water quality online. Test water quality. Submit data to project Web site.

Extension Activities:

Teaching Tips:

Teaching Tip How Much Technology?

This activity is flexible enough to let afterschool instructors decide how much technology to incorporate into the lesson. If your program has the equipment or resources to purchase equipment, students can use water probes to test water and record their results on handhelds or laptops. If this is the first time you are completing this project, you can start with simpler, less-expensive materials. Once you decide whether this project is suitable for your program, you can invest in more expensive materials. See the project's page on equipment for more information to make your decision (

Evaluate (Outcomes to look for):

Students will:

Click this link to see additional learning goals, grade-level benchmarks, and standards covered in this lesson.

Learn More:

For more information and ideas to support this lesson, see the Resources page.
Online Training for Afterschool Staff
The Afterschool Training Toolkit is available online free of charge.

The following resources can be used with the online Afterschool Training Toolkit to give you the resources you need to build fun, innovative, and academically enriching afterschool activities.