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The Science and Civics of the Flint Water Crisis (Elementary/Middle School Version)

Subject ArtsMusic Lesson PlansScience
Grade Level Grades K-8
Resource Type Lesson Plan


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In this lesson, students analyze selected lyrics from rapper Vic Mensa’s song “Shades of Blue” to better understand the sense of frustration and injustice people living in the city felt during the water crisis. Students then experiment with creating their own water filtration system to better understand the scientific and engineering principles behind water treatment, and consider the biological effects of lead poisoning. Finally, they are introduced to the advocacy work of Mari Copeny, and consider how young people can enact great social change.

This lesson made possible in part by Leaving a Positive Legacy, Inc.  Positive Legacy is a 501c3 nonprofit that integrates music and service to benefit people and the planet.

Materials Required:

  • 2-liter soda bottles, cut in half horizontally
  • Water “Pollutants,” which could include dirt or soil, coffee grounds, dish washing liquid, baking soda, vinegar, food coloring, vegetable oil
  • A pitcher
  • Cups
  • Spoons
  • Coffee filters
  • A marker
  • Filter material: cotton balls, small pebbles, sand, active charcoal



Flint Water Crisis - Elementary and Middle.pdf

Lesson Plan
June 27, 2022
0.3 MB
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