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Images of ducks, sunset, canoes, fishing and windsailing with title:  Saving Lake Menomin-A web adventure for fifth graders


You live in the northwestern Wisconsin city of Menomonie and you are members of the city council. Your council has been working, for years, on the problem of the algae bloom that occurs yearly in Lake Menomin. It happens earlier each summer, covers more and more of the lake and is really stinky. The eutrophication has caused many different kinds of wildlife to struggle for existence. The community wants to figure out the cause of the problem, and solve it! But, the causes of the problem come from many sources. The solutions will take a long time and effort on the part of everyone in the community. What can you do to help restore the lake’s natural balance?


You will be planning an event to be held during the local Fourth of July celebration in Wakanda Park. One of you will be developing the script for the program. One of you will design and build a model demonstrating how the algae bloom occurs. This will be displayed at your program. All of you will be prepared to participate in a debate about the problem and one of you will write a song that address the issue. Finally, one of you will make a brochure that explains the algae problem. This brochure will be passed out at the Fourth of July event and will also be distributed at other events in the community.

American flag
This event must be designed to attract people to it. Be ready for the press (your teacher) to interview you about the event.


Ten class periods will be allotted to complete this project. If your group needs more time, you will be expected to do it outside of class.
You will be divided into “city councils” of four members each. Each of you will choose one of the research areas ton which to become an expert:

The Historical Expert, who will find out what has happened so far about the problem of the algae bloom in Lake Menomin. This person will serve as the narrator for the program on the Fourth of July.

The Water Quality Expert, who will learn about eutrophication, algae blooms, and phosphorus imbalance. At the program, you will present a model that explains the problem in Lake Menomin.

The Non-Point Source Expert
, who will identify the many sources of phosphorus and explain what will happen if nothing is changed. This person will be in charge of developing the brochure.

The Solutions for Today Expert
, who will develop a piece of artistic work that explains how each person can help with the problem. This could be a multimedia presentation, a play, a puppet show, a song, a poem, or a combination of these.


Each person will use the resources listed under their area of expertise (as well as any other sources) to research their topic. Take notes as you go. These will be evaluated at the end to see how well you researched. Identify the source of information when you take notes.


Your group will discuss the problem of the algae bloom in Lake Menomin to see what has been learned thus far. You will come up with two questions for each “expert” to answer by conducting more research.

Time will then be given for you to do more research to answer these questions. Again, take notes and keep track of where you get the information. Use the Vocabulary Page to help you understand the terms you will encounter.


Each expert will come up with ideas for his or her part of the final project.

The Historical Expert will begin an outline for the Fourth of July program, including introductions, calling attention to the model, the artistic presentations (s) and passing out of the brochure.

The Water Quality Expert will begin sketching a design for a model that demonstrates how eutrophication works.

The Non-Point Source Expert will begin drawing a sketch of the brochure that describes the many sources of the problem and includes solutions.

The Solutions for Today Expert will begin writing a play, poem, or whatever artistic medium he or she is using to demonstrate the need for solutions.

Work day to catch up and continue working on individual ideas for the presentations.

The Historical Expert will present his or her outline for the program to the group and get assistance for how to make the program even more effective. Each expert will be expected to have an idea about what his or her part of the program will need for equipment, time, etc. The final outline will be completed.

The Water Quality Expert will present his or her sketch about eutrophication to the group and assign tasks for each person to do to complete the model. The group will complete the model during work time.

The Non-Point Source Expert will get feedback on the brochure developed so far. Experts will make corrections, group members will double check information on the internet sites and the Non-Point Source Expert will assign tasks for each person to do to complete the brochure.

The Solutions for Today Expert will tell the group about his or her artistic ideas. He or she will then assign tasks for each person to do to complete the artistic creations.

Work day to complete the projects.

Each city council will orally present ideas to the class and hand in work.

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Image of boat tipping and "History of the problem" text
Outdoor Wisconsin: A 1997 Description of the Algae Bloom on Wisconsin Lakes.
Red Cedar River Basin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
Image of water and "Water quality" text
Water Science for Schools: Water Basics
A Primer on Water Quality
Harmful Algae Blooms
Image of cows and "Non-point sources" text
The Effects of Urbanization on Water Quality
Water Pollution: Sewage
Effects of Urbanization on Water Quality: Sewage Overflows
What is Stormwater and Polluted Runoff?
Manure Management and Water Quality
Water Pollution: Agriculture
Image of house and "Solutions" text
Chemicals around the home
Bear Creek Restoration Project
Welcome to Wisconsin’s Self-Help Citizen Lake Monitoring


Click here for: EVALUATION INSTRUCTIONS Click here for RUBRIC  


You have learned a lot about a problem without an easy solution. Remember, this problem really has been around for many years and you could be part of the solution. Feel free to share any part of your work with local policy makers, or contact your state or federal legislators and get involved in helping change the environmental laws!

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Questions or Comments? You may contact Ann Salt at: mailbox image