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Water Security:
Making it Right Again

By Christina Van Putten 80 minutes
Grades 9-12
English Language Arts,
Science and Technology,
Social Sciences,
  • Data
  • Technology and Society
  • Design
Tools & Languages

Key Coding Concepts

  • Sequences


HTML (hypertext markup language) is a language used for tagging or “marking up” text files to achieve font, color, graphics, videos, and links on webpages.


CSS (cascading style sheets) is the visual language used for presentation or styling of a document written in a markup language. CSS files are what make the web colourful, patterned, responsive, and cool

This is an introductory lesson to consider the quality of water in a particular watershed, by giving learners the tools they need to make connections, make discoveries, and make a plan to improve our environment.

  • Recommended: Facilitate an introductory HTML lesson ahead of time (e.g. Superhero Profiles)
  • Computers with access to the internet (either per learner, or in pairs)
  • Optional chart paper/markers for Minds On portion
  • Have learners create a Github account at: → We won’t be accessing Github directly, but we’ll use this account to save our websites

Minds On: (10 minutes)

What is the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’? Take 2 minutes to quickly list 5 items under each category. (Learners jot lists, could be shared with a partner or create a class-agreed list.)

Looking at the list, discuss the following questions:

  • Which side seems to detail basic human rights and which one seems to be for privileged society?
  • Is there anything missing from the ‘need’ list? (encourage the addition of ‘water’ if it is not already there)
  • Can we organize the items under ‘need’ from this unordered list into an ordered list? (using numbers instead of bullets).
  • What do you already know about water? (Sample answers: chemical makeup is H20; the world is about 70% water; human bodies are up to 60% water; all cells need water to function properly; water is a basic human right; you can only survive a number of days without water; soft drink manufacturers are bottling water to sell to us)
  • Knowing what we already do about water, and taking your points into consideration, how valuable is water to life on Earth?

Say: Today we will be investigating the quality of water within our own watershed. We will be looking at the Conservation Ontario website (see links below) to access the water quality report for this area.

Action: (60 minutes)

  1. Go to and log in
  2. Visit the starter project
  3. Investigate Conservation Ontario website to narrow search to one watershed
  4. Access Watershed Report Card to consider results of the 2 reports: Is there progress? How may we best improve before the next report cycle?
  5. Remix the starter project (Glitch icon > “Remix on Glitch” )
    remix button
  6. Include the following details in any order:
    • Watershed area name/title
    • An explanation of the territory encompassed
    • A hyperlink to the Conservation authority responsible for monitoring this area
    • 2 images (e.g. map, Conservation Authority logo, water sampling methods)
    • Mission statement from yourself/group that demonstrates your personal goal to improve water quality
    • Unordered list pointing out up to 8 choices that locals have available to improve water quality in this area

Consolidation: (10 minutes)

Share websites with the class. Point out unique qualities through a number of sites showcased.

Learning Outcomes


  • I can remix websites by editing HTML tags.
  • I can change the text on websites by editing headings and paragraphs.
  • I can replace images using image tags.
  • I have the power to change my experience on the web.


  • I can explain the purpose of a Watershed Report Card.
  • I can find Watershed Report Cards for specific regions.
  • I can suggest specific actions to improve water quality by targeting problem areas within a report card.

Assessment Tools

  • Guide learners through editing and revising their work using the CUPS strategy (Capitalization, Usage, Punctuation, Spelling) - before submitting their final version.
  • Have learners use HTML comments to explain their code.
  • Have learners share their projects using Padlet, providing feedback to at least one peer. You may copy this Gallery Walk Padlet where learners use a combination of the '2 stars and a wish' and 'SPARK' frameworks.
  • Ask learners to reflect on and self-assess their work

  • Record personal video of local waterway into webpage
  • Begin researching how to record water quality and begin a longitudinal study
  • Investigate local conservation authority to see if a school partnership can be established
  • Investigate how learners can lobby municipal government to support the health of local watershed
  • Investigate and consider enrolling in Waterdocs Film Festival

Technology and Society

Discuss the ways a website can be used to inform the public of environmental issues related to the watershed. Have learners design a website to inform the public of the importance of their watershed and provide strategies for keeping the watershed healthy.

Unplugged modification:

  • Paper-pencil creation (poster, letter, etc)
  • Simplify directions to reflect 2-3 bullet lists; 1 image insert
  • Educator remixes the page to provide scaffold of expectations

Conservation Ontario

Watershed Checkup (Conservation Ontario)

HTML Comments (W3Schools)

Two Stars and a Wish (Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation)

Teaching Students to Give Peer Feedback (Mark Gardner, Edutopia)

Teach lessons that are tied to your existing curriculum!


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