Jonesport, Maine, is a small, coastal community of approximately 1,300 people. It is a rural town and has no public water supply or sewer system. Water for all activities in the home comes from private wells or is purchased in the form of bottled water. The school’s drinking water contains trace amounts of lead and copper, so all drinking water is brought into the school from an outside source.
Students in the eighth grade at Jonesport Elementary School are learning about the importance of safe drinking water. In order to see how this applies to their community, they will test wells in their community for arsenic. Students will follow a curriculum called, “Discovering the Connection: Your Environment, Your Health,” by the National Library of Medicine. The curriculum introduces students to the topic of drinking water quality and the water treatment process, and lets them apply that learning in their school and community. Students involved are conducting experiments, internet research, and participating in social action activities that deal with safe drinking water.
After the experiments, students will analyze the data received from the water tests. They will use the Maine Tracking Network to graph and plot that data. Students will discuss what this information means for their community and how to provide community outreach about safe drinking water in Jonesport. Following the project, students will display the results of their findings at the school curriculum fair.
by Sylvina Lyons