8th Graders Analyze the Human Impact on the Hydrosphere

IB at ISB · May 8, 2020

While 6th Graders have been learning about Ecology and 7th Graders have been examining the Bohr Model and the periodic table, 8th Graders have been exploring the human impact on the hydrosphere during distance learning. 


Middle School Science Teacher Kimesha Reid-Grant highlights the importance of fun hands-on learning especially during this time, “We use educational puzzles and crosswords, and create investigative activities where students can continue to explore the world we live in and work together to discover their own answers and hypotheses. I never just tell students the answers, I help them in asking questions so that they can work together to find solutions for themselves. I want them to develop their own perspective and theories based on what they see and learn.”

To investigate the human impact on the hydrosphere, 8th Graders became stakeholders in a mock council meeting held to determine whether a dam should be built in their community. The scene was set so that students worked in partners to represent different investors for the upcoming hypothetical dam construction project. The mock council consisted of investors and stakeholders such as farmers, homeowners upstream and downstream, biologists, public utilities, and the Department of Recreation. Each group of student stakeholders presented the pros and cons of building a dam and gave their final decision based on the perspective of the stakeholder they were representing.

Students grappled with the real world implications that their decision would have on their community. Stakeholders discussed the impact on the ecosystem and endangered species, such as egrets and sturgeons, financial implications, possibilities for renewable energy, changes in recreation activities, and more. Each stakeholder brought a unique perspective to the table which contributed to creating a more holistic picture of the issue at hand, highlighting the complexities in real world decision-making.


Once the council meetings adjourned, students had the opportunity for personal reflection as they comprehensively analyzed the issue, weighing the pros and cons presented by the various stakeholders. Through deep examination, they reviewed the information that had been presented, considered the possibilities, and developed their own nuanced perspective. Students concluded by sharing their own thoughts and stance on whether building a dam was a good decision and whether they would personally vote to move forward. 


The final vote seemed to lean in the direction of not building the dam in the ratio of 10:4, environment over economics for these stakeholders!