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Tapped Out: The World Water Crisis

Secondary, Middle

Description

Tapped Out: The World Water Crisis explores many of the international debates which surround water. Is water a commodity or a human right?  Should it be managed privately or publicly? What are the current and future threats to water?

Students research current issues surrounding water from both a Canadian and an international perspective. Several exercises allow them to experience through role play and discussion, the emotional issues surrounding water. 

The resource is organized around three themes.

  1. Water as a resource- Lessons examine the earth’s finite amount of clean water and the unequal access to it.
  2. Water and health- Lessons explore the relationship between unclean water and disease.
  3. Water and globalization- Lessons encourage discussion and debate concerning globalization and its effects on the production and consumption of products and services, including water.

*  In addition there is a section that focuses on taking action.

As with other Common Threads Projects the resource is supported by a DVD.  This documentary explores water issues through the eyes of an Ontario high school student and serves as a powerful introduction to the issues. 

Teachers will find that the lessons in this resource fulfill many of the curriculum expectations in a variety of subjects.

 

General Assessment

Strengths

  • There are many interesting activities and the video is well done.
  • There is plenty of background information both for teachers and students.
  • The lessons are well organized.
  • Detailed rubrics are provided for evaluation.
  • Suggestions of additional resources are provided.
  • The package is up todate.

Weaknesses

Recommendation of how and where to use it

These lessons could be used as part of World Water Day and Water Week in Canada.

This resource also support the teaching of math, language, communication and critical thinking skills.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • There is an underlining suggestion throughout that privatization of water is bad.
  • The unit provides hints here and there that humans are capable of sharing water resources even though the resource is not evenly distributed across the planet.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Economics (1)

    • Globalization
  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Social Justice
  • Water (3)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Bias Minimization Good

Although this unit is clearly against the privatization of water, it does a good job of letting students explore various arguments.

Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Very Good

Presents as many different points of view, for example:

 

  • using math to understanding what part of the population have access to clean water
  • understanding the relationship between clean water and human health
  • the globalization of water resources
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

Respects Complexity Very Good

The complexity of problems is very well respected and  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged.

Respects Complexity: The complexity of problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Satisfactory

While Lesson 4 & 7 provide great ideas and opportunities for authentic action experiences through which students can impact their community, the intended audience is their classmates.  Only one supplemental lesson has action as a core activity.

Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Satisfactory

While the opportunity is there to teach actions skills, they are not a part of the main activities.

Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

This is very well developed through role playing.

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 Satisfactory

This theme is mentioned in the beginning but is not developed within the activities.

Personal Affinity with Earth: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused Good

The video used in Lesson 5 (as suggested) makes the issue of water conservation very relevant to students.

Locally-Focused: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
Past, Present & Future Very Good

The sense of time is very well developed.

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 Very Good

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible. There are no right answers.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning Very Good

The lessons address a number of different subject outcomes.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory

Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.

Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification Good

Two of the activities allow significant opportunities for values clarification.

Values Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
Differentiated Instruction Good

The activities do address a range of learning styles but do not accommodate for people with learning difficulties.

Differentiated Instruction: Activities address a range of learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Satisfactory

The lessons are simulations.

Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Students work in groups.

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 Very Good

Tools are provided for students and teachers to demonstrate their learning.

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

Students rely on each other to learn.

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 Very Good

Real case studies are used.

Case Studies: Relevant case studies are used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine concepts in an authentic context.
Locus of Control Satisfactory

Only a few parts of the lessons allow studnts to choose some minor elements. Most of the learning opportunity is determined by the teacher.

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.