Students watch a video about the effect of livestock confinement in Iowa on water quality. They learn the environmental and political effects of manure management by large and small animal confinements, and answer questions on the subject.
This lesson is part of "Great States: Iowa | Unit 6: Industry: Lumber, Grain, Coal, Agriculture." In this unit, students will investigate the major successes and challenges of resource use in Iowa.
E.SS.3.13: Identify how people use natural resources, human resources, and physical capital to produce goods and services.
H.SS.4.26: Explain how Iowa’s agriculture has changed over time.
SS.5.5: With teacher direction, construct responses to compelling questions supported by reasoning and evidence.
SS.3.5./SS.4.5/SS.5.6: Identify challenges and opportunities when taking action to address problems, including predicting possible results.
- Video: Water Quality – Manure
- An interactive whiteboard, projector, or another type of screen to show videos to the class
- Class set of The Manure Problem handout
Distribute The Manure Problem handout to students.
Explain to students that farming in Iowa has grown since the state’s early history. What used to be small family farms have grown into large operations with thousands of animals at a time. When there are livestock confinements (places animals are kept for easy feeding and growing), there is an issue of what to do with the manure.
Tell students they will be watching a video that discusses the environmental and political effects of manure management from large and small animal confinements. Instruct students to take notes in the top half of the handout as they watch.
Play the video, Water Quality – Manure. [4:16]
Have students complete questions on the handout, and go over the answers as a class.
Ask students: “Do you think more regulations are needed to protect watersheds in Iowa, or should the responsibility be that of the farmers? Explain your argument.”
Earthen lagoons, leaks, seepage, and overflow [1:24]
Pathogens, excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphates, bacteria, excess antibiotics [2:25]
Fish kills due to excess nutrients, and beach and lake closings due to bacteria [0:27]
Apply manure fertilizer within limits, plant grass and tree borders, maintain tillage fields and buffer strips [3:40]