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In 2008, Dr. Michelle Soupir joined the Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering department at Iowa State University.  The goal of Dr. Soupir’s research program is to conduct basic research to move us toward more sustainable water systems.  Dr. Soupir uses lab- and field-based research projects to monitor the occurrence, fate and movement of nutrients and microorganisms in surface and drainage water.The information, activities and assessments included in these curriculum modules aim to tell a story.  This storyline will help students learn the basics of denitrification and the nitrogen cycle to make sense of our anchor phenomenon - the Gulf Dead Zone.  Students will learn that local conditions and actions can have a significant impact on global issues.  The activities with which students will engage constitute a meaningful pathway to understanding and are not intended to be used in isolation.  As you make plans for how these modules will be used, carefully consider the connections and interdependence of the activities, which make it difficult to separate the activities and is not advised.Each module consists of two or three activities.  Each activity provides opportunities to develop and use specific elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering skills and practice(s) to make sense of phenomena and/or to design solutions to problems.  They also provide students with the chance to use conceptual understanding that spans scientific disciplines and develop deep understanding of core ideas and content. 
Engineering, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Ecology
High School
Grade 9, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Date Added:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0
Media Format:
Downloadable docs





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