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Curriculum Standards

Alberta Learning

Science 8 Unit E: Freshwater and Saltwater Systems (Social and Environmental Emphasis)


Earth is sometimes described as the water planet: more than two-thirds of Earth's surface is covered by oceans and freshwater features. By exploring examples of aquatic systems, students learn about the dynamic nature of these systems and the interaction of landforms, sediments, water and climate. Students also investigate factors affecting the distribution and health of living things in aquatic environments, and the supply and quality of water for human use.

Focus Questions:

  • How do water, land and climate interact?
  • What are the characteristics of freshwater and saltwater systems?
  • How do water systems affect living things, including humans?

Key Concepts

The following concepts are developed in this unit and may also be addressed in other units at other grade levels.

  • water quality
  • water-borne materials
  • erosion and deposition
  • stream characteristics
  • continental drainage systems
  • ocean basins
  • climate
  • glaciers and icecaps
  • adaptations to aquatic ecosystems
  • human impact

Knowledge, skills and attitude outcomes are found in the Alberta Learning Science 7-8-9 curriculum.

Field Activities

Students will have the opportunity to apply information from their web research through the field activities.