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Water for Life

Secondary, Middle

Description

This eight lesson ESD resource explores global water issues.  Activities emphasize the interdependence of human society, encourage an appreciation of cultural diversity, draw attention to the importance of respecting human rights and promote student action.

Each of the eight chapters examines water issues through case studies which link water availability to population dynamics, food supply, poverty, health, education, gender inequalities, human rights, and environmental sustainability.

Using a cross-curricular approach this resource highlights the importance of balancing the social, environmental, and economic aspects of water issues in order to achieve sustainability.

Topics addressed include the water cycle, water use, water availability, water in agriculture, climate change and water,  water-borne diseases and gender issues related to accessing clean water.   Emphasis is also placed on specific actions to secure water availability in the future.

Each chapter can be taught as a stand-alone lesson or the entire package can be implemented as a comprehensive unit.

Chapter 1: How is water distributed around the world?

Students read and discuss the information found in tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning water facts, the water cycle, the distribution of earth’s water, and women’s role in water collection. After completing some general questions, they are asked to create a movie on the water cycle, compose a creative writing piece on the “life cycle of a water droplet”, and generate a quiz for classmates on the water cycle.

Chapter 2: How has water availability changed over time?

Students read and discuss  information found in tables graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning world water distribution, population and water, physical and economic water scarcity, water stress and Millennium Development goals related to clean water. After completing general questions, students are asked to create a Venn diagram to compare similarities and differences between water stress and scarcity, complete a diary entry that describes a young person before and after water taps are installed in their village and design a slogan, poster, or advertisement on a topic related to  global water availability.

Chapter 3: How is water used by people?

Students read and discuss the information found in figures, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning the uneven access and consumption of water in developing countries compared to developed countries.  The financial cost of water, the spiritual use of water, and water diseases are also examined. After completing some general questions, students are asked to brainstorm reasons why people in developing countries pay more for water than those in developed countries., and to design a campaign to promote the importance of safe drinking water. Activities include a carrying their  personal daily water consumption in buckets a distance of 50m, creating short video clips teaching hygiene practices related to hand washing, safe water handling/ storage, and sanitation, and writing a water diary of a person living in the slums of Manila.

Chapter 4: How is water used in agriculture?

Students read and discuss the information found in tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning water used in agriculture today and in the future. Students also examine the water footprints of different countries. After completing some questions students are asked to compare water footprints among different countries, design a recipe book with meals that use less water and calculate their own personal water footprint. Groups of students then design a website, film or advertisement to educate people about water footprints and tips on how to reduce them.

Chapter 5: Does climate change affect water availability?

Students read and discuss the information found in  tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning the predicted impact of climate change on water availability in various part of the world. Case studies in Tuvalu and Bangladesh are highlighted. The economic and environmental cost of bottled water is also addressed. After completing  questions students are asked to create a mind map of the impacts of climate change, conduct research into aspects of climate change on Pacific Islands and create a movie about the plight of “water refugees”. Students are also encouraged to develop a campaign to reduce or stop the sale of bottled water in their schools.

Chapter 6: Case Study: Water Issues in Asia-Pacific

Students read case studies of water issues in Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. After comparing and contrasting issues affecting these countries, students choose another Asia-Pacific country and research how it has been affected by arsenic contamination. Other activities include a Power Point presentation on a water-borne disease, and playing an online water issue game.

Chapter 7: Case Study: Water issues in Africa

African case studies highlight the gender inequalities which persist in many developing countries with regards to the labour involved in accessing safe drinking water. After completing overview questions, students are asked to create a multimedia presentation about women and water in Africa and develop an action plan for rural Uganda to improve access to safe drinking water. This action plan is presented to the class in a creative format- role play, website, TV ad, or pamphlet.

Chapter 8: What action can be taken to improve water availability?

Students read case studies about the merits of desalination plants in Australia and Great Britain as a means of developing alternative sources of fresh water.  They also examine other campaigns designed to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and its sustainable management. Students are encouraged to take personal action in saving water. Activities include evaluating the effectiveness of some WaterAid strategies, creating cartoon water messages, debating water desalination as a class, and conducting a water audit for the school. After the audit, students create an action plan to present to school councils or boards with ways to reduce water consumption.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Interpreting patterns and trends in data
  • Working cooperatively with others to develop and carry out a plan
  • critical and creative thinking strategies
  • formulating questions to guide research
  • problem solving and decision-making strategies
  • identifying further problems or issues to be investigating
  • analyzing one's ecological footprint
  • gathering information from a variety of sources
  • defending a given position
  • creating written and media text in a variety of forms

Strengths

  • Helps students form concepts, beliefs, and attitudes
  • Builds empathy for people living in poverty and those with water accessibility issues
  • Discusses a consequence of climate change which is often not in the forefront- rainfall patterns
  • Has a multi-disciplinary approach
  • Group work allows for shared dialogue and incidental peer teaching
  • Open-ended solutions
  • Resource is up-to-date and has excellent background information, statistics, figures, diagrams, and prognostics
  • Demonstrates effectively the complexity of environmental issues
  • Encourages creativity
  • Includes authentic case studies
  • Highlights the interdependence of our global community

Weaknesses

  • Assessment tools are not provided
  • Suggested answers for overview questions are not provided
  • This resource is written for an Australian audience, so it is up to the teacher to adapt some portions of the material to North American water issues
  • First Nations water issues are not addressed
  • Action projects are suggested, but not fully developed
  • No accommodations are suggested for struggling readers

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This resource could be used in a science course studying water systems or the consequences of climate change. It is also an excellent resource to use in geography or social studies classes which are examining the sustainability of our choices, and the impact they have in the global community. We are all connected.

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.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
    • Grade 9
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Environmental Chemistry (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
        • Science 14:Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Personal Response to Globalization
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    • Grade 6
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Issues and Governance: Economic self-interest can be a significant cause of conflict among peoples and governments.
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 7
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      • Social Studies
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        • People & Places in the World: Global Quality of Life
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        • Water Systems on Earth
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        • Canada in the Contemporary World
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      • Geography
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        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Centurty: Geographic Literacy
        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Century: Natural Resources
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        • Senior 2 Science: Weather Dynamics
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Weather Dynamics
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
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        • Canadian Geography 1202: Global Issues n Canadian Geography
      • Science
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        • Science 1206: Weather Dynamics
  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
        • Science 14:Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Personal Response to Globalization
        • Social Studies 10-4 (Living in a Globalizing World) Canadian Response to Globalization
        • Social Studies 10-4 (Living in a Globalizing World) Personal Response to Globalization
        • Social Studies 10-4(Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Sustainable Prosperity
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
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        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Interdependence
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        • Geography 10: Spaceship Earth
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        • Science 10: Weather Dynamics
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
    • Grade 9
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      • Science
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        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Biological Diversity (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
        • Knowledge and Employability Science: Environmental Chemistry (Social and Environmental Contexts Emphasis)
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10-4 (Knowledge and Employability Science): Investigating Matter and Energy in Environmental Systems
        • Science 10: Energy Flow in Global Systems
        • Science 14: Investigating Matter and Energy in the Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Personal Response to Globalization
  • Ontario
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    • Grade 7
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      • Geography
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        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
      • Science & Technology
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        • Interactions in the Environment
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        • Global Inequalities: Economic Development and Quality of Life
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        • Water Systems
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        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Interactions in the Physical Environment
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Interactions in the Physical Environment
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        • Science (Academic):Earth and Space Science: Climate Change
        • Science (Applied)::Earth and Space Science: Earth's Dynamic Climate
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        • Water Systems on Earth
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        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Citizenship in the Global Community
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Culture in the Global Community
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Human Rights in the Global Community
    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography of Canada 421A: Canada’s Global Connections
        • Geography of Canada 421A: Future Connections
      • Science
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        • Science 431A: Earth and Space Science, Weather Systems
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        • Canadian Studies 401A: Canada's Global Connections
  • Quebec
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    • Grade 9
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        • The Contemporary World: Environment
        • The Contemporary World: Wealth
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        • Science and the Environment: The Living World
  • Saskatchewan
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    • Grade 8
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
    • Grade 10
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 10: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Yukon Territory
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    • Grade 6
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Issues and Governance: Economic self-interest can be a significant cause of conflict among peoples and governments.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Human Health & Environment (3)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
    • Environmental Justice
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (2)

    • Poverty
    • Social Justice
  • Water (4)

    • Water Cycle
    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The resource presents different points of view through case studies, statistics, personal testimonies, data collection, and computer research. Students gather and examine this information and draw their own conclusions.

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
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 approach promotes dialogue , discussion and action within groups of students. The resource encourages open-ended solutions and activities connect environmental and social issues.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Action plans are suggested, but must be developed and created by the students and teacher.

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

Activities provide multiple opportunities for student reflection.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Very Good

Case studies are powerful and relevant to the topic. Empathy and respect are fostered for those who live in poverty, women and children in some developing nations and those whose quality of life is affected by water issues.

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

Although no real out-of -doors activity is included, the resource does encourage planet stewardship and water conservation/preservation.

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 calculation of ecological footprints, as well as, personal and school water audits bring local focus.

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

In-depth information and statistics are displayed for global trends of various types of water use, population growth and climate,  These easy-to-read visuals allow students to compare present situations with those predicted for the future. The future is seen as positive if we develop a more sustainable plan for water consumption and create better technology that allows us to re-use and desalinate water.

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 guided and structured inquiry is used. There are opportunities for students to link their own experiences and they are able to discover and design solutions on their own

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

Although primarily a science, social studies and geography resource there are opportunities to address outcomes in language arts, visual arts, and media arts.

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 Satisfactory
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 Satisfactory

The resource teaches to both the cognitive and affective domains. A variety of instructional strategies are used  but there are no accommodations suggested for students with learning difficulties. Lessons provide a gradual release of learning responsibilities from teachers to students.

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

The lugging of buckets of water  serves as an effective simulation of the daily routines carried out by many people in the developing world.

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
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

Poor. Overview questions are given but no suggested answers. There are no rubrics or checklists to capture formative or summative information about student 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 Satisfactory
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
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 Good
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.