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Thirsty Planet; World Water Lessons

Secondary, Middle

Description

The purpose of this resource is to enhance students’ awareness of the distribution and value of clean drinking water. Students will develop critical views about managing and sustaining this vital resource. The material is suitable for grades 4 to 8 but may need adaptations for grade 4.

The unit includes:

  • a very thorough teacher’s background guide chalk full of information regarding fresh water and descriptions of the activities and activity handouts (springboard style)
  • a sample reference guide online, as well as print and multimedia resources and field trip opportunities
  • a detailed water glossary for students and teachers
  • a CD-ROM that includes a detailed index, links to ministry-prescribed learning
  • outcomes, photos, additional resources for both teachers and students and a copy of the printed unit

There are a total of 12 easy to use and understand, springboard activities. Each includes goals, materials, instructions and handouts ready to photocopy :

1. Water Quiz - Self test – introductory activity, 20 min
2. Pools of Knowledge - Class brainstorm and discussion - knowledge inventory, 1 hr
3. Water Meter - Personal consumption chart – personal tracking, 1.5 hrs over the week
4. Water Challenges – Reading and crossword – world water challenges and BC’s supply, 1.5 hrs
5. Water Outreach – Field trip, guest speaker, or interviews – direct experiences, time varies
6. Water Around the World – Using data to create country profiles – compiling information, 2hrs
7. Waterton River – Water pollution board game – learn about pollution reduction and democracy, 2hrs
8. Is Bottled Better Than Tap – Discussion – uses the inner circle/outer circle organization, 2.5 hrs
9. Water Case Studies – Writing assignment – read about, internalize, share and write, 2hrs
10. Water Facts Cartoon – Wrap-Up Art Assignment – review of topics, 1hr
11. Taking Action – Student Projects – Teaching action tools and using them, 2+hrs
12. Water Quiz Take Two – Self-test retake – reflection on learning, 45 min.

The accompanying CD-Rom contains:

1. BC Ministry of Education Learning Outcomes
2. JPEG photos, in black and white or colour, slide show
3. Resources

  • Printable bottled water analysis sheet that gives instructions for beginning and marking the inner circle outer circle discussion
  • Printable instruction sheet for reading a water meter
  • Printable plain crossword grid
  • A printable organizer for the retell, relate, reflect activity in activity
  • Six printable cartooning sheets to help with drawing and organizing for activity 10

4. Research

  • Printable analysis of the pros and cons of drinking water
  • Printable maps and data for both the Fraser and Mackenzie Watersheds in BC
  • Printable statistics on water by country
  • Printable visual tool for teaching about water in a typical city
  • Printable UN booklet on the water decade 005-2015
  • Printable BC Government report on BC drinking water health
  • Printable Federal Government report on Water

5. A complete, printable copy of the unit

 

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The resource is well researched and informative and offers a huge collection of recommended resources to supplement the activities provided.
  • The CD-Rom picture set is exceptional as are the case studies.
  • The CD-Rom includes a dearth of information from a variety of sources including the UN.
  • The open-endedness combined with the prepared student handouts provides for both flexibility and ease of use.
  • The resource provides learner guides for taking responsible action.

Weaknesses

  • There are no hard copies of the resources and research included on the CD-Rom in the purchased guidebook.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Inner circle/outer circle discussion organization.
  • Action planning.
  • Writing formal letters.
  • Lobbying government.
  • How to educate for change.
  • How to formally get involved in instituting change.
  • How to read a water meter.

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    • Grade 10

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Air Pollution
  • Citizenship (1)

    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Governance (2)

    • Democracy
    • Government Regulations
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Health Promotion
  • Water (4)

    • Privatization & Sale of Water
    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • The letter to teacher and the backgrounder state CoDev’s position succinctly.
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 Very Good
  • The teacher backgrounder provides information on the scope of the issue.
  • The student activities, when accompanied by the teacher information and research, explore most aspects of the problem and some possible solutions.
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 Very Good
  • The problem is presented in a global, scientific, factual way.
  • Solutions take on a local focus because Canada minds 25% of the world’s fresh water.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Very Good
  • Many of the individual activities have a student-directed action component built in.
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 Very Good
  • Through the statistical information on drinking water available to students, they will be required to reassess their understanding, beliefs and attitudes.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good
  • Consultation occurred with many sub-groups throughout the preparation of the resource.
  • Information is presented respectfully.
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 Very Good
  • The resource encourages teachers to take students to drinking water sources for a field trip.
  • The CD-ROM offers a first-rate photo tour that stirs the soul.
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
  • Students and teachers are encouraged to access local experts and facilities.
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 Very Good
  • The facts are presented to students so that they can envision possible futures with and without action.
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
  • A combination of structured, open, and guided inquiry and investigation.
  • Teachers are left to determine the direction they want their students to move in, but there are also opportunities provided for research.
Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good
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 Poor/Not considered
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
  • Much will ultimately be determined by the teacher, but there are opportunities in this open-ended resource to plan for different students' strengths and learning styles.
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
  • It will be important to include field-trips, interviews and guest speakers in the unit as suggested in activity five.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Very Good
  • Most of the activities provide opportunity for students to work in teams. This is always left to the teacher to determine.
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
  • Students have many opportunities to demonstrate knowledge.
  • The unit provides one summative assessment rubric for the inner/outer circle discussion and it also includes a key to the water quiz for formative assessment.
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
  • Most of the activities provide for opportunities to work in teams where students can exchange knowledge and understanding. This is always left to the teacher to determine.
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
  • The written case studies for activity 9 are exceptional.
  • The pictures on the CD-ROM (also photocopied in the guide) offer a wide range of scenarios that include local, as well as global, scenes.
  • Solutions are not presented along with the pictures but they will serve to facilitate discussions in which solutions could be a focus.
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 can make choices in their action plans and in their research.
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.