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Water Usage

Middle

Description

This action-oriented resource focuses attention on the issue of water conservation.  Students conduct school wide, personal, and classroom water-use audits to yield 'before' results. After scrutiny and analysis of their findings, students make behaviour changes to meet a water conservation challenge. Resource components include:

Background information on water distribution, availability, consumption and conservation.

Assessing Water Use Activities:

  • Water Walkabout- to assess water usage at school
  • Water You Use Everyday- to assess personal water use
  • Water Conservation Challenge- students attempt to reduce their personal water usage

Taking Action Activities:

  • Catching Raindrops in Nicaragua- students examine water supply problems and solutions around the world
  • Toilet Dam Project- students construct a water-saving toilet dam for use at home
  • Teachers and students may also choose to follow suggestions for designing a rainwater collection system

Three additional extension suggestions are included.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The resource is easy to use and involves students in inquiry.
  • The authors have included ready-made check lists for student data collection.
  • The case study is student ready.
  • Creating the toilet dam is simple, effective and free.
  • Interesting, well referenced background information is provided.
  • The activities empower students to create meaningful change.

Weaknesses

  • The background information is for teachers only. A visual presentation for students would be far more engaging and informative.
  • No marking rubrics or checklists are provided for ease of assessment.

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Audit data collection.
  • How to build a toilet dam.

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Themes Addressed

  • Water (1)

    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Very Good
  • Supports an ESD perspective.
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 focus is on economic and social aspects of water, but the environmental implications are clear enough.
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
  • Connections are made between local water consumption, energy consumption, and access to water in Latin America.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Very Good
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
  • Discussion questions are provided in lesson 3.1 and 3.2 p3 that allow students to consider their beliefs and values before and after the water reduction challenge.
  • Subsequently, students are asked to consider how a water crisis may have been avoided in Nicaragua.
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
  • One excellent case study from Latin America is provided.
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
  • An out-of-doors experience is not suggested.
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
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
  • The lesson focuses on the present and future but refers to the past in the case study.
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
  • The 'right' answer is to reduce and the activities all lead in that direction. Getting to that answer requires a combination of structured inquiry and guided investigation.
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
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
  • Students are provided with intriguing personal questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves a unique experience.
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 lessons are heavily kinesthetic and visual.
  •  No differentiation or adaptations are suggested for learners.
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
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 Satisfactory
  • Students work together.
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
  • While the activities provide opportunities for teacher evaluation, no rubrics are 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: 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
  • One authentic case study is provided.
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
  • There is minimal opportunity for student choice.
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.