Students learn that fish and other wildlife near Synchrony City and its rural surroundings have been dying. The “scene of the crime” is the “Gray Area,” including forests, a city and town, a coast, rivers, a lake, and a pond. Possible “suspects” include a water slide, a toy factory, a golf course, loggers, hunters and fishers, a cow ranch, oil tanker, automobiles, and households. Your students—the environmental detectives—perform chemical and biological tests to figure out what is causing the problems.
Among content areas explored are: chlorine pollution, acid rain, erosion and sediment pollution, predator-prey relationships, phosphate pollution/algal blooms, and oil pollution. Students become aware of the interconnectedness of the natural world, the complexity of environmental problems, and how major impacts can be triggered by one seemingly small change.