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This six-week comprehensive learning package developed for Grade 8 students in Ontario and British Columbia, but with applications in all regions, addresses the importance of water to humans, other animals and their habitats. It also addresses current and historical impacts of water systems in local watersheds and The Great Lakes. Attention is given to the accessibility of potable water. Students research water pollutants, water rights issues, and global access. The unit culminates with student-driven action projects on a local water issue.
A thirty-day unit plan includes the following activities:
· Students creating illustrated word walls
· Brainstorming water-user lists
· Examining water issues around the world through art
· Creating watershed maps and 3-D models
· Researching and presenting information about present and historical commercial and industrial use of water in local watersheds
· Reflecting and discussing the impacts of the Great Lakes water system on local weather patterns and watersheds
· Predicting the percentage of potable water on earth, and after a teacher-led demo on the actual amount, reflecting on the result.
· Create an art display on types of water pollution
· Examining the water rights of local industries and globally
· Creating a mind map and picture collage of concerns related to local watersheds
· Using the Engaging Students in Sustainable Action Project Guide to choose, research, plan, organize and implement action plans to address local water issues.
The first three weeks of the unit plan involve teaching some content related to water issues to inform the student’s action choice and enhance their projects.
A “hands-on” investigation into hazardous materials is suggested as an extension. Students research proper disposal methods, do a home audit of everyday hazardous materials and then present their findings to the class in the form of a poster, pamphlet, skit, or TV commercial.
Lessons can serve as "stand alone" activities, or be combined with others lessons, as time permits.
This resource can be used to address outcomes in the water systems unit in Grade 8 science. The multi-disciplinary approach and strong action plan component could also be used at any grade level or as a club initiative to promote positive changes in local/global communities for a sustainable future.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Satisfactory|
Students gather facts and information to form their own conclusions. The Aboriginal perspective on water issues in First Nations communities is not addressed.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
The message is that humans are dependent on the resources provided by the environment, specifically water, for personal and economic needs. We must implement strategies to achieve a more sustainable future.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The approach promotes dialogue and discussion within groups of students. It encourages open-ended solutions and research activities related to environmental and social issues on both local and global levels.
|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
Students are given many opportunities for both group and personal reflection and the sharing of beliefs and values.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Satisfactory|
|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|
Although it has no out-of-doors experience, the resource does promote stewardship in hopes of a sustainable water supply in the future.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The students investigate their own local watershed.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Satisfactory|
Lessons learned form the past with regards to the historical commercial and industrial uses of water in their local watershed are explored. Present day situations are evaluated and students are asked to play a role in implementing solutions for a sustainable water supply for future generations.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Students are encouraged to consider, develop, and reflect on their own thoughts, opinions and values. Activities encourage interaction and participation.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although primarily a science resource there are opportunities to address outcomes in language arts, social studies, history, art and math. Artistic expression and creativity are encouraged.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
Although there are no accommodations suggested for students with learning difficulties a variety of instructional strategies are used to provide individual students with the instruction and experiences they need to succeed in both understanding the issues and taking action.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
This resource makes use of a comprehensive 3-D model of a watershed that requires students to apply their learning in an authentic context.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students take part in a jigsaw activity to summarize water issue articles.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
Although a rubric is provided for evaluating the 3-D model, all other assessment tools and answer keys must be developed by the teacher. Reflection questions are provided but no suggested answers accompany these.
|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.|
Students are encouraged to present their plans to their peers and their communities.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
A five minute video case study on water rights issues in Bolivia is included in the activities.
|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|
The structure and variety of activities provide meaningful opportunities for students to delve deeper into a chosen issue.
|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.|