Protecting our environment: making the connections at C-C Middle School

By on December 23, 2019
Each student demonstrated how a different kind of pollution entered the environment and accumulated in the local water supply.

Each student demonstrated how a different kind of pollution entered the environment and accumulated in the local water supply.

Students in teacher Josie Cancilla-Spadafora’s sixth-grade science classroom at Churchville-Chili Middle School have been studying the causes and effects of pollution on ecosystems. The problem became much clearer with a hands-on demonstration showing the many different kinds of pollutants and the insidious ways they find their way into our water supply. 

Students began by examining chemical and organic fertilizers, discussing the differences and the impact each has on the environment. They quickly understood that, in spite of the toxic damage they can cause, non-organic products continue to be popular due to their low cost, convenience, and efficacy. The class then utilized a three-dimensional model representing our own Lake Ontario ecosystem, exploring how pollutants make their way into the lake. From fertilizer or manure runoff from farms, to gas and oil from our cars, or chemicals and waste from homes and factories – it all fouls our environment and water. Students were surprised by how widespread pollution is and how complicated the challenges of controlling it are. 

“It’s important that students understand that there are multiple sides to every complex problem,” said Cancilla-Spadafora. “Solutions can be found, and these very students may find them. They are learning through this exercise that the difficulties we face will require more creativity, perseverance and effort than just saying, ‘We should do this.’” 

Provided information and photos

Each student demonstrated how a different kind of pollution entered the environment and accumulated in the local water supply.

Students explore a three-dimensional ecosystem model with Instructional Coach Andrea Lynch.

Middle school teacher Josie Cancilla-Spadafora and her class discuss the costs and benefits of organic vs. chemical fertilizers.

Middle school teacher Josie Cancilla-Spadafora and her class discuss the costs and benefits of organic vs. chemical fertilizers.