Fairfax County Stormwater Planning Division (SWPD) ecologists have developed a lab activity for high school students entitled Stream Crime Investigation (SCI) that couples the informative nature of presentations with the hands-on experience of lab exercises. The lab illustrates the connection between the residents’ behaviors on land and their impact on local waterways. Students act as recruits for a crime prevention unit whose role is to track and stop common pollutants from entering our waterways.
Students use kitchen chemistry reactions that emulate the tests conducted by real stormwater scientists to identify the sources of pollutants in a fictional town and they propose solutions to prevent additional pollutants from entering the storm drainage network. Response to this lab has been overwhelmingly positive from teachers and students, alike.
- Fairfax County ecologists present the lab at no cost to the school
- Specific elements of the lab can be emphasized or deemphasized according to age group and curriculum requirements
- All materials are provided by Fairfax County stormwater staff
- The lab runs from 45 to 60 minutes
The Stream Crime Investigation lab won a 2015 award from the National Association of Counties (NACo) in the category of Children and Youth. Also, SCI won a 2015 Achievement Award from the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) for outstanding local programs.