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Water for All

Elementary, Middle

Description

Water for All explores causes of water shortages. Children are asked to explore the interconnected reasons for shortages as well as the impacts shortages are likely to have on the lives of real people.

The community-led approaches outlined in the case studies teach children about active citizenship and sustainable development. Children are encouraged to learn not only about those changes, but to learn from them as well.

This resource is accompanied by an excellent picture set for teaching about water. The content of some lessons/activities are intended for a British audience, and will need to be adapted for Canadian use.

The resource consists of seven different activities, plus information and resources for the teacher.

  • Water for All: Getting Started - Provides an overview of the lessons.
  • Introductory activity: Every picture tells a story - Tracking the consequences of water shortage - Using pictures and questions, the goal of the lesson is to help students understand that water shortages have the same repercussions wherever we live.
  • Water Quiz: Going short of water - Water shortages happen for a reason - An online set of pictures depicting water scenes gets students thinking about and identifying the causes of water shortages.
  • Water problems: Case studies - In groups, students examine the pictures from the water quiz more closely and report their findings; a slide set for each case study, with questions, is included to guide students.
  • Water math: Global statistics - Students match an online set of graphs with the correct math language (British units); the graphs and language deal with water availability statistics.
  • Water solutions: Case studies - Solutions are presented for the case studies that students viewed in simple picture sets.
  • Act locally – Learning from change - Students and teachers spend time transferring learning to local action; many ideas are presented, but the locale will determine which will work best.
  • Celebrate water for all! - After looking at and discussing a selection of celebratory pictures, teacher and students decide on how they can best share a celebration of water. Possibilities are presented.

The resource also includes:

  • An Image Well - Images from the Water for All resource - Provides quick access to all images in the lessons.
  • Teachers' notes -Introduction: About the resource and its use - Descriptions of rationale, pedagogy, and teaching techniques are well described in this section.
  • Curriculum links for England


  • Further information and recommended resources

 

General Assessment

Strengths

  • the resource comes with exceptional pictures that would be easy to insert into a Powerpoint presentation
  • the teaching ideas connected to the teacher notes (see The Image Well: Teaching Techniques) section are excitng and new

Weaknesses

  • the resource takes some time to get used to because it is all online and because of the sequencing of the lessons and teaching tools
  • the slideshows are not presented in full-screen format
  • the resource is intended for a UK audience and will need some alterations to ensure Canadian students find it relevant

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

  • water needs to be protected and conserved everywhere
  • water shortages can happen everywhere
  • water is a human right and, therefore, a responsibility
  • water must be managed

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (2)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Water (2)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

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

It will be up to the teacher to ensure that multiple dimensions of the problem are presented as they work through the discussion questions with students. The resource incorporates perspectives on rights and responsibilities through the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child.

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

The resource models the importance of community meetings.  It also provides many ideas for action, through which students will acquire skills, independent of the resource.

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
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

The out-of-doors may come into play when students begin their action projects. However, it is not an element that is explicitly built into the program.

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 Very Good
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 passage of time is represented in the case studies, but without being obtrusive.

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, guided, and open inquiry is provided.

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 Good

The use of a computer is heavily relied upon.

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 Good
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 Very Good
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 lessons tend to be visual/auditory, with the kinesthetic aspect coming from keyboarding.

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 Very Good

Students use what they have learned about other cultures' success stories to create their own local action product.

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
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 Satisfactory

Assessment, reflection and self-assessment are not built into the lessons in a substantial way.

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
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 Good

Case studies, though authentic, lack substantial description.

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 Good

The initial lessons are teacher-led, but in subsequent lessons students do have the opportunity to make decisions regarding the work and learning they will engage in.

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.