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Water Crisis in South Africa

Secondary, Middle

Description

Students explore the very real threat of running out of fresh water by examining the current Day Zero crisis facing the residents of Cape Town, South Africa. On or about April 12, 2018, this city of 3.7 million people will run out of drinking water. Students discuss the economic, social and environmental variables that have combined to create this calamity and in considering the conservation strategies that have been put in place, they are asked to measure their own water consumption and reflect on the impacts.

With this very important and disturbing event unfolding in real time, students are presented with number of STEM project options to undertake that will demonstrate the promise and limitations of science and engineering in providing a long-term solution to this situation and others playing out around the world.

Stem projects include demonstrating the potential for solar power desalinization, grey water recycling, rain water collection systems, dew taps and other technologies.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • analyzing one's footprint
  • designing and conducting experiments
  • collecting and managing data
  • working both independently and cooperatively

Strengths

  • The resource addresses an important topic
  • The case study provided is both current and compelling
  • The activities support wide range of curriculum outcomes
  • The STEM projects provide meaningful opportunities for inquiry.

Weaknesses

  • Completing the STEM projects may involve some cost for equipment and materials.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource presents a current and compelling case study in sustainable development that supports a variety of curriculum outcomes in geography, science and social studies across several grade levels.

It will also serve as an excellent tool to engage students in World Water Day.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Century: Natural Resources
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdisciplinary Topics in Science 40S: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Advanced Environmental Science 120: Earth Systems
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Investigating Environmental Issues
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120: Issues Facing the Global Village
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 1206: Weather Dynamics
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: Water Use & the Environment
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Weather Dynamics
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
    • Grade 8
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Scientific Solutions to Contemporary Environmental Challenges
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Impacts of Change
        • Forces of Nature: Physical Processes and Disasters (Univ./College Prep.)
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Sustainability of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Preparation): Human-Environment Interactions
        • World Geography: Urban Patterns & Populations (Univ. / College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 421A: Weather Dynamics
        • Science 431A: Earth and Space Science, Weather Systems
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
  • Quebec
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Contemporary World: Environment
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Student-Directed Study

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Water (2)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good

Students form their own views and make recommendations based on the analysis of an actual case study and a follow-up investigation.

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 case study provides an excellent context for exploring the environmental, economic and social factors in the causes and consequences of fresh water shortages.

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

The case study describes the complexity of this very real problem and the recommended STEM projects effectively demonstrate both the promise and limitations of technology in finding solutions.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The data tracking activity requires students to consider personal stewardship and conservation commitments.  However no specific action activity is supported by the resource.

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 share and discuss their water-use findings and consider personal conservation practices in light of what's happening in South Africa.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The opportunity to emphasize the plight of the poorest people in this situation and similar ones around the world should be obvious.

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 Good

The goal of the resource is to make students aware of the very real problem of 'running out' of fresh water and focus their attention on conservation and action.

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 Good

The seriousness of this 'real-time' catastrophe and the connection we all have to fresh water makes this resource highly relevant to young people everywhere.  Students also connect to the issue by tracking their own water usage and impact.

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 Satisfactory

The focus is clearly on the present situation and what steps can/should be taken going forward.

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

Students will draw their own conclusions from the case study and follow-up activities.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Very Good

In exploring sustainable development, the resource seamlessly incorporates content and skills from a range of curriculum disciplines.

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

Students can investigate the promise and limitations of technology in solving water shortages around the world by completing the suggested STEM projects.

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 Poor/Not considered
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 Satisfactory

Students collect and analyze real data and participate in hands-on investigation.

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 Satisfactory

Students work both individually and 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 Poor/Not considered

There are no assessment tools or suggestions 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 Poor/Not considered

Peer teaching opportunities are not included in this resource.

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 resource is built on a current and important case study in sustainable development.

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 Satisfactory

Some choice and guidance is provided with respect to the STEM projects students undertake.

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.