Experiential Science 30 – Disturbance and Development

Experiential Science 30 – Disturbance and Development



Resource development, largely through mining, is a major part of the Northwest Territories’ economy. Industrial activity has advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these impacts is important when making decisions about approving projects and identifying ways to mitigate the negative effects. This lesson exposes students to resource development projects in the Northwest Territories, introduces how Indigenous knowledge and local communities contribute to the understanding of toxins and allows students to investigate the impacts of development in their local area.



Industrial development can be important for economic development, but it also poses serious threats to the environment. For instance, chemicals used in mining can enter waterways. This lesson will introduce students to environmental disturbances that can arise from development. Students will be challenged to apply their learning to investigate a local issue using primary and secondary research, and then convey what they learned in a creative way.


Key questions for student inquiry: 

How do development projects impact my community? What is my community doing to address the issue?



In the classroom and in the school/community (interviews)


Length of activity:

180-225 minutes 

Teacher Resources


Materials Needed:

Note: Case studies and handouts are provided in the downloadable Lesson Plan Package

Connections to Curriculum


Unit 4: Resource Management

Focusing Questions: How can freshwater resources be managed to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come?

  • 5 – Students will gain an understanding of contaminants in freshwater by:
    • Investigating the sources of man-made contaminants.
    • Illustrating and describing the effects of bioaccumulation of man-made contaminants in an aquatic environment.
    • Researching and presenting, the historical perspective of the effects / concerns of bioaccumulation of toxin(s) in your region.
    • Discussing the pros and cons of industrial development in an environmentally sensitive watershed including:
      • i. Possible toxins
      • ii. Biodegradation of toxins
      • iii. Bioaccumulation.
      • iv. Environmental health issues
      • v. Aquatic management concerns
      • vi. Long and short term economic benefits to the community.