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Operation Water Drop

High School Operation Water Drop

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

After examining facts, issues and responsibilities around the question of 'what is safe drinking water', students collect and test the quality of drinking water samples from five sources.  The class is divided up to complete 13 tests on these samples. Student groups present their findings to the class.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Testing water quality and analysing findings is explicitly taught.

Strengths

This activity gives students an opportunity to practice real science and obtain results that are very relevant to their lives.

Weaknesses

The economics of treating dinking water is not addressed nor is the issue of the quality of the source water. These things are important from a sustainability perspective.

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Governance (1)

    • Government Regulations
  • Water (2)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

This resource has students collect drinking water samples, test them for contaminants and interpret the results with respect to drinking water quality guidelines. Such an approach is objective and shows little or no bias.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good

After water samples are analysed students are directed to consider political and social issues relating to treatment of drinking water and availability of safe drinking water to all Canadian communities.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good

Students are directed to compare the quality of their drinking water to standards and report on that to their classmates.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good

Students are given the opportunity to determine the quality of their drinking water and report to classmates.  They are encouraged to develop an action plan but need to look futher than this activity to learn how to take action beyond their classroom.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good

Students are asked to consider safe drinking water availability of others.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Students are encouraged to consider the plight of other sectors of Canadian society with respect to availability of safe drinking water.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Poor/Not considered
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Very Good

Deals with students' own drinking water.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

Water quality in the present is addressed. Future aspirations are encouraged. No information about the past is provided.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

Findings will be compared to other sources of drinking water and drinking water quality standards. A variety of presentation options would be acceptable to communicate the interpretation.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Very Good

Activities are hands on, reading and research is needed, writing of reports is required.  A variety of presentation options are encouraged when communicating with peers.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Very Good

Studetns will be able to relate to the community that uses the water being tested.

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Very Good

Students work in groups to test water. They prepare presentations in groups. Presentations are made to a larger group.

Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Good

Marking rubric for student presentations is provided.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Very Good

Once students have interpreted findings they report to their class. This could easily be extended to reporting to a larger community.

Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Poor/Not considered
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Very Good

Students are responsible for determining and comparing drinking water quality then reporting in which ever way they prefer.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.