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Save A Drop For Me

Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Description

This three lesson unit uses the theme of the scarcity of potable water to encourage service learning. It is a research-based unit emphasizing the need for volunteers to participate in efforts to promote clean water.

Lesson One: Selecting the Tap. After discussing what potable water is and completing KWL sheets, the students are asked to reflect on literary and historical readings describing acts of philanthropy related to water. They will then research on-line, the types of impairments effecting local  bodies of water. (2 x 45 min)

Lesson Two: Let Us Help. The work done by business, government and non-profit sectors is researched and presented in groups. Students then do a poster promoting safe clean water and water conservation in their community and in individual households.

Lesson Three: Feel The Wonder. Students are asked to participate in a volunteer experience involving water testing or a water clean-up project. The focus is on reflecting and assessing the benefits of this type of work.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

* Researching information on the computer

* Analyzing and presenting data on water quality

* Analyzing one's own impact on the environment

*  Refining team building skills/ working with your community

Strengths

* The resource is interesting and easy to follow

* It has a good action project- "hands-on" and locally focused

* Lessons are written so that most students can be successful, though no adaptations for modifying work are provided

* It provides opportunities to connect with community members and groups in the action project

* It gives students an opportunity to practice real science and obtain results that are relevant to their lives

*It provides different ways to collect information on  water issues- computer research, reflective questions on historical readings, and "hands-on" testing /clean up

* It provides opportunity for group work and incidental peer teaching

Weaknesses

* The links and bibliograhical information need to be updated

* Rubrics/assessment techniques need development

* There are no accomodations for struggling readers

* The resource is written for an American audience so the web recommendations  for teachers do not match with a Canadian audience. Some additional teacher prep to rework these lessons may be needed

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Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (3)

    • Community-Building and Participation
    • Ecological Footprint
    • General Guide to Taking Action
  • Economics (1)

    • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Habitat Loss
  • Human Health & Environment (1)

    • Quality of Life
  • Land Use & Natural Resources (3)

    • Habitat Restoration
    • Rural Issues
    • Sustainable Urbanization
  • Waste Management (1)

    • Liquid Waste
  • Water (3)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Use
    • Watershed Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Satisfactory

 The issue of potable water is studied from a variety of perspectives. Perhaps a discussion on the "selling" of water to different countries could have been included. If it is scarce, why sell for profit?

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 unit includes the environmental component of water care and conservation. The cost associated with maintaining water quality is shown to be a problem in the past and in present times. Society's responsibility to protect this resource is emphasized and volunteerism encouraged.

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

The problems associated with a shortage of potable water are not easily solved. The resource does provide some opportunities to study potable water and its properties and then to design plans to promote water conservation, work with other sectors of society , as well as to engage in group action projects.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

In lesson three, a water clean up project and water testing experience are the focus. The organization of these activities depends on the motivation of the teacher and this will determine the quality of the action experience. The poster making project in lesson three gives action plan suggestions for students and other citizens as well.

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 Satisfactory

There are opportunities provided for self reflection in all lessons.

Lesson three calls for a pre-volunteer survey of values/beliefs and then a post-volunteer experience self reflection. This post-volunteer reflection gives students a chance to clarify and express their 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

The historical and literary reading reflection questions provide some opportunities for fostering empathy for past hardships for people who endured problems with water quality and availability. It also fosters respect for those who fought for social justice.

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

If the water testing or clean up is done in lesson three, then there is an out-of -doors experience.

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 Satisfactory

The readings are specific  to river systems in Michigan and the historical/literary readings are designed for an American audience. Links for data collection are also for American river systems. However suggestions for action and the clean up/ water testing activities could easily be done locally.

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 Satisfactory

The water quality issues of the past and the role that some people had for initiating improvements is touched upon. The quality of water in present day is analyzed with data collection of  impairments and the role of the four sectors in managing water resources researched.  The message promoted is that the vision for the future is positive only if the degree of philanthropic contribution, at all levels, increases.

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 Satisfactory

The solutions for promoting the conservation of water are open-ended although some ideas and suggestions are given.

The message sent is that the more people who are involved in trying to find possible answers for the scarcity of water, the better.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning 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
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.

Activities are appropriate for a wide range of abilities with slight modifications required for some reading assignments.

No accomodations are specifically listed.

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 clean up project in lesson four offers a direct experience to water quality issues. The first two lessons are more background research into what others did and are currently doing in case the student would like to follow those leads.

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

Students do work in groups and present ideas after discussion, but cooperative learning skills are not explicitly taught.

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

The resource has some reflective questions, but has more of a "self-evaluation" approach. The questions asked from the literary and historical readings have no answer keys or suggested extension activities. The rubric  in lesson two needs more detail and there should be a rubric for the poster activity.

Lesson three requires a rubric to evaluate the student on the effort and enthusiasm in whcih they approached the clean up.

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

Students work in groups, discuss their findings and share with other members of the class. Teaching is incidental only.

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 Satisfactory

Real events are described, but the descriptions are not thorough.

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

Students are given choices in many parts of the unit. They can choose the water way and the non-profit groups they would like to research. They can also choose the topic of their promotional poster. They are encouraged to continue to be involved in environmental issues in a "hands-on" manner after the unit is completed.

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.