Increased nutrients in the waterway (Years 5-6)

Yarra River at sunset
Yarra River at sunset

This series of lessons explores the effects of extra nutrients entering a waterway via the stormwater system.

Students make links between common household products that contain phosphates or nitrates and similar products used in industry, and consider how these can contribute to reduced water quality. Students assess their own behaviours and promote positive action to address water quality issues.

Download the lesson plan

This lesson plan contains modules explicitly linked to the Victorian Curriculum.


Activity 1: The phosphate cycle

Students explore how plants grow, the phosphorus cycle and the role that nutrients such as phosphate play in helping plants to grow. They learn how phosphates enter our waterways.

Activity 2: Phosphates in a wetland

Students draw a model of a wetland and demonstrate the effect of excess phosphate levels on the ecosystem.

Activity 3: Testing phosphates

Students measure the phosphate levels in some water samples and discuss the effects that increased nutrients could have on the waterway.

Victorian curriculum links

  • VCSSU073: Scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions are used to inform personal and community decisions and to solve problems that directly affect people’s lives
    Science > Science understanding > Science as a human endeavour
  • VCSSU075: The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment
    Science > Science understanding > Biological sciences
  • VCGGK094: Influence of people, including the influence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, on the environmental characteristics of Australian places
    Geography > Geographical knowledge > Factors that shape places and influence interconnections


River health and monitoring

Water testing at Maroondah Reservoir

We monitor rivers and creeks so we know if their condition changes or our improvement programs need adjusting. Learn how we assess river health and view current data.

River health


People crowded around a table, inspecting the contents in a white dish

Be a citizen scientist

Get involved in exploring and protecting your local waterway and natural environment with our citizen science programs.

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