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Operation Water Health

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource contains eight lessons that explore health issues related to water. Students are encouraged to become involved on behalf of safe drinking water at home and abroad.  Lessons involve reading and interpreting well-organized fact sheets, summarizing information provided in case studies, power point presentations and visuals, and completing reflection questions.  All Power Point presentations, fact sheets, summary charts, reflection questions and answer keys are provided. There are also links to lots of supplementary information on all topics discussed.

Lesson 1- Healthy Water- What Is It?  After a teacher demo, students are asked to build definitions of healthy and unhealthy water (in groups) and begin entries in water journals.

Lesson 2- Unhealthy Water- What Is It?  The students build on their definitions of healthy and unhealthy water and answer reflection sheet questions after a Power Point presentation on the cholera epidemic in London in the 1900s. Students are also asked to generate discussion on pictures taken of water supplies in First Nation Communities in Canada.

Lesson 3 - Disease Causing Microbes- Students break up into learning centers to gather information on five of the most common diseases caused by water containing harmful microbes.  Groups present posters after a cooperative learning activity to share information with other students.

Lesson 4 - Water Treatment Practices- Students participate in a jigsaw activity and teach each other about the common methods of treating water. Also as a group, students write an itemized plan to correct a water treatment scenario. Finally after analyzing arsenic data from a well on a Saskatchewan farm, students are asked to reflect in their water journals as to whether Canada does have a drinking water problem and also on their role in improving water quality in their own communities.

Lesson 5 - Cases of Contamination- After viewing a power point presentation summarizing four case studies of waterborne illness outbreaks in North America, a class discussion is promoted and reflections written in water journals.

Lesson 6 - Water and The World- After examining shocking statistics on water data globally, the students will start to examine how accessibility to clean drinking water is also a human rights issue, and are asked to reflect on how they could work to change the water situation in a developing country.

Lesson 7- Water and North America- Students view a power point presentation that clarifies the responsibility of the different levels of government for drinking water.  The remainder of the lesson focuses on case studies that explore the state of drinking water in two First Nations’ communities. Students read handouts on the role of "The Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment Team" in improving water quality, answer reflection questions and respond in journals to the question, "What can be done to improve the water situation in Canada?"

Lesson 8 - Are They Responsible? Students participate in a simulated press conference that allows them to ask questions to a government representative (teacher in role play). After the "press conference" students vote to decide who they think is responsible for healthy drinking water in Canada. They then write letters to municipal, provincial or federal politicians voicing their concern about the accessibility and quality of drinking water for all Canadians.

Links are provided on how to organize a press conference, and exemplar letters are provided.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Critical thinking skills are developed
  • Responding and reflecting on written media and written text
  • Reading and viewing of different text
  • Analyzing and evaluating text
  • Listening critically to others ideas, and points of view
  • Selecting and integrating information from different sources
  • Cooperative learning skills
  • Presenting data in different ways

Strengths

  • Lesson plans are well-organized and clear
  • There is a good supply of information supplied with fact sheets, Power Point presentations, articles from newspapers and magazines.
  • Lesson plans include summarizing charts, reflection questions(both for reading assignments and water journals), answer keys, and exemplars for persuasive letter writing
  • There are many links provided for additional information 
  • Case studies focus on Canadian situations
  • Visual and written text build empathy for those whose quality of life has been affected by safe drinking water issues
  • There are cooperative learning opportunities
  • Students are given opportunities to discuss opinions on issues and the resource has local focus
  • Reflection and question sheets are leveled - one set for elementary students and one set for high school students

Weaknesses

  • No "hands-on" activities are provided
  • The only action plan is a letter writing campaign
  • Teachers must develop their own items and rubrics for evaluation
  • Reading level of fact sheets/print media will be a problem for some students
  • No accommodations provided for struggling readers/learners

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        • Canadian Issues and Governance: Natural resources continue to shape the economy and identity of different regions of Canada.
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        • Physical and Health Education: Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being
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        • Physical and Health Education: Advocating for the health and well-being of others connects us to our community
        • Physical and Health Education: Healthy choices influence our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
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        • Science 8: Life processes are performed at the cellular leve
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        • Explorations in Social Studies 11: Indigenous peoples are reclaiming mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being despite the continuing effects of colonialism
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        • Environmental Science 12: Human actions affect the quality of water and its ability to sustain life.
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        • Contemporary Indigenous Studies: Indigenous peoples are reclaiming mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being despite the continuing effects of colonialism

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Community-Building and Participation
  • Governance (1)

    • Government Regulations
  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (1)

    • Social Justice
  • Waste Management (1)

    • Liquid Waste
  • Water (3)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Water Use

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

A good cross-section of material is presented about water diseases, healthy and unhealthy water, as well as water treatment methods. In the final two lessons however, there could be more links and information given on viewpoints of INAC and Health Canada on water issues on First Nations communities, and what they perceive they are doing to alleviate the problems discussed.

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 Good

The resource links how the environmental issue of unsafe drinking water is related to social problems and quality of life issues at home and abroad. The responsibility of providing clean water has economic implications associated with cost. This has led to a questioning of government policy, especially for rural and First Nations communities.

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 Satisfactory

Although lessons are teacher-directed, the students have ample opportunities to reflect upon the many written and media texts provided, to help them suggest potential solutions for problems presented.

Critical thinking skills are encouraged which could empower students to be more involved in water quality issues.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

The resource promotes an awareness of health problems caused by unclean water. The only action experience is a letter-writing campaign to officials at various levels of government or civil engineers involved with water treatment. The resource does provide links to SDWF resources to find other action plans.These are extensions however, and not an integral part of the activity.

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
Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Empathy is certainly fostered for those in Canada and around the world whose quality of life is affected negatively by unsafe drinking water in their communities.

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

Poor

There are no out-of-doors experience with this resource.

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

Because safe drinking water is at the forefront in any community, a discussion about the dangers of drinking contaminated water becomes locally focused.

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

Case studies discuss some past problems with unhealthy water. Current statistics and water policies give a good indication of the present. The future is seen as positive only if we remain vigilant in our efforts to screen, monitor, and treat our current water supplies. This resource highlights the need to do so at the individual, community and governmental levels.

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

Although lessons are teacher-directed, there are opportunities for students to express opinions and insight into possible solutions and their role in implementing them. Critical thinking skills are encouraged which will hopefully empower students to become involved in safe water issues in their own communities, in Canada, and abroad.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

Safe drinking water is seen as an environmental, social and political issue. The lesson plans offer an integrated approach especially with science, health and social studies curricula.

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

The students reflect on data presented, summarize articles, and participate in group discussions which allow them to build and discover knowledge by themselves, and develop, on their own, an understanding of concepts, principles and responsibilities. The resource does not provide, however, opportunities to explore their environment or perform any "hands-on" activities.

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

Most activities involve interpreting, summarizing, and presenting information gathered by reading and viewing various written and visual text. The cognitive and affective domains are taught.

The resource offers little, however. to the kinesthetic learner, and reading levels will be a problem for some students. No modifications or accommodations are suggested for struggling 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 Poor/Not considered

Poor. No simulations or authentic experiences are present in this resource.

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 Good
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. Although the resource offers many summarizing charts, reflection sheets and answer keys, there are no specific formative or summative assessment assignments,checklists or rubrics provided. It is up to the teacher to decide how to evaluate the resource.

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 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 are interesting and relevant. They give good detail, but the teacher would need to research each a little more to be able to answer student questions which may arise. This information can be found in the links 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

Although lessons are teacher directed, there are opportunities for students in reflections and discussions to go deeper into specific issues.

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.