River Management: Assessing Health
iBlock Objective:

What’s in the water? The world’s rivers and streams are a priceless resource, but various forms of pollution pose a threat to water quality. Scientists carry out studies to determine physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water to get an accurate understanding of water quality. It’s critical that we know the current status of water-quality conditions and how and why those conditions have been changing over time. With a better understanding of water quality, the growing need to protect the world’s water resources may be better understood. So how do scientists assess whether river ecosystems are being protected? What does it entail to study a river’s “health”? In this iBlock, students will engineer a device or system that will sample an environmental parameter that indicates water health.

  • Grade Band: 3-5
  • Primary Focus: Science
  • Secondary Focus: Social Studies
  • Additional Foci: Advanced Literacy, Transferable Skills, Social-Emotional Learning
  • Possible Suggested Technologies: Labdisc
  • Related Industry Sectors: Scientific Research & Engineering; Agriculture & Natural Resources; Energy, Environment, & Utilities


An iBlock matches skills to standards (like Common Core or NGSS).

Here is a sample content standard for this iBlock:

Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect Earth’s resources and environment. (5-ESS3-1)