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Engineering GSI, Sustainability Ambassadors


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Earth and Space Sciences, Geography, Engineering

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plan
  • Activity - Classroom
  • Artwork
  • Video
  • Article
  • Interactive Media
  • Data
  • Presentation Slides
  • Worksheet

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West


Google Slides, PDF, YouTube Video

Why is Stormwater a Problem?

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  • This lesson examines how developed roadways and buildings cause stormwater pollution, how this pollution impacts marine life in Puget Sound, and possible solutions for this environmental issue.
  • Students will engage in activities to encourage reflection and discussion, videos that inform them about stormwater pollution and its impacts, and interactive maps that allow them to understand this pollution on a deeper level.
Teaching Tips


  • For one of the activities, students will examine well-crafted infographics about stormwater.
  • The articles and videos in this lesson range in complexity, so many learners can access the information.

Additional Prerequisites

  • For one of the activities, students must work in groups.
  • Clicking a link in this lesson plan won't take you to a new tab.
  • The "Why are Salmon Dying Before They Can Spawn?" video shows images of dissected salmon, which may upset some students.
  • Students need an account with ArcGIS to view the map on the "700 Million Gallons - GSI Around You" webpage.
  • Some students may need the terms impervious, impenetrable, watersheds, mortality, stormwater, and runoff defined before beginning the lesson.


  • This lesson can fit within a larger unit on types of pollution caused by human activity.
  • Teachers can use the Washington Environmental Health Disparities Map as a conceptual introduction to environmental justice/equity.
  • The "Trees Tame Stormwater" infographic can support a classroom discussion on the ecological importance of trees and the negative consequences of deforestation.
  • The "Stormwater Impacts on Salmon" article can enhance a classroom discussion on the importance of biodiversity, how human activity is lowering biodiversity, and solutions to mitigate this decrease in global biodiversity.
Scientist Notes
This activity succinctly highlights the impact of stormwater on infrastructure, water resources, and the environment. It provides credible materials to enable students to co-create solutions to address it.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • RI.6.2 Determine a central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • RST.6-8.8 Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation in a text.
      • RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
      • RST.11-12.1 Accurately cite strong and thorough evidence from the text to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to precise details for explanations or descriptions.
      • RST.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
      • RST.11-12.9 Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.7.2 Analyze the main ideas and supporting details presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how the ideas clarify a topic, text, or issue under study.
  • Science
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-5. Evaluate competing design solutions for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
      • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • Career Readiness, Life Literacies, & Key Skills
    • Life Literacies and Key Skills
      • 9.4.12.IML.5: Evaluate, synthesize, and apply information on climate change from various sources appropriately (e.g., 2.1.12.CHSS.6, S.IC.B.4, S.IC.B.6, 8.1.12.DA.1, 6.1.12.GeoHE.14.a, 7.1.AL.PRSNT.2).
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