Using Project-Based Learning to Teach Water Quality and Nitrogen Cycle




Wright, Emily

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


UTSA Graduate School


Introduction: Water quality is an essential component of the natural world and of human life. Lack of access to clean water is a global issue that affects more than 450 million children (Alhattab, 2021). An integral component of water quality is the nitrogen cycle. The complex and real world application of the nitrogen cycle and water quality naturally lends itself to STEM education (Moore & Glancy, 2020). The nitrogen cycle also incorporates biology, math, chemistry, and many other subjects. For these reasons it provides an excellent base for interdisciplinary learning/teaching.

Research Questions: Water quality is a global issue. However, current curriculum does a poor job teaching this to K-12 students. My goal is to discover the best teaching practices to engage students in authentic learning. How can teachers utilize inquiry-based learning to help students recognize the importance of the nitrogen cycle in their lives and in real-world water quality problems? How can an interdisciplinary approach be used to effectively engage students of different ages? What are the limitations or challenges in using these methods? In summary: How can teachers engage students in project-based inquiry to increase learning and curiosity about the relationship between the nitrogen cycle and water quality?





Curriculum and Instruction