The Aesthetics of Water Pollution in Lake Michigan

Small Group Presentation Summary:

Our small group project was on aesthetics.  We basically divided the topic into four class activities, The first was for the class to draw their ideal pictures of good water and ugly or polluted water.  The intent of this was to prove the stereotype of clean water being blue and full of life and that the stereotype of the polluted water was water that was dirty with litter, oil, and other unnatural items.  The exercise proved this to be true in our class.

The second exercise was a discussion on two posters that our group had made.  The first was of pictures of clean and pretty water and the second was of polluted water.  The clean water pictures were ripped, crumbled and slapped on the poster board while the polluted water pictures were neatly placed and organized on the posterboard.  The intent of this was to see if presentation made a difference in the way people viewed things.  It wasn't until the group leaders mentioned the fact of presentation, that people commented on its effect.  Prior to that, there was little reaction.

The third exercise was a test to see if we could really trust what we see.  We created 9 different types of water-based solutions, labeled A through I.  Each person received one type of solution and was asked if she would drink it based on looks.  The results were as follows:

  Yes No   
A 1 1 water dyed yellow
B 0 2 algae-colored water
C 1 0 tap water
D 0 2 mercury-tainted water
E 1 0 chlorine-tainted water
F 2 0 fishtank water
G 2 0 toilet water
H 0 1 lettuce water
I 1 1 vegetable juice water

The fourth exercise was a taste test.  Five volunteers were chosen from the class, and each was given four cups labeled 1 through 4. Each one contained a different type of water.  They were told the four water types: tap water, filtrated water(like Brita), well water, and bottled water.  Their task was to guess which water was which, based on taste.  None of them got all 4 types correct.  One guessed tap water correctly, one guessed filtrated correctly, two guessed well correctly, and three guessed bottled correctly.  We concluded our presentation with the question “can you really trust your senses (for all aesthetic purposes)?” followed by a small class discussion.

By: Lee, Jennifer, Alexis, and Toni

Last Updated 2/28/1999