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Each year millions of children suffer as a result of inadequate access to clean water. This STEM hands-on learning unit raises awareness of the challenges in maintaining health in developing countries where infrastructure like toilets and running water are limited. The relationship between hygiene and infectious disease is explored in a meaningful context with a series of lessons that actively engage students in:
This unit supports Science, Social Studies and Health outcomes related to disease transmission, poverty, sustainable communities and the link between a healthy environment and human health. The lesson could also be integrated into science or social studies units examining water conservation and pollution. A class could visit a local sewage treatment plant to learn about the process used to treat raw human waste so it can be safely released into the environment or research the water treatment process that provides clean drinking water to their community.
An important hygiene resource is soap and in developing countries this commodity is so precious that it is often not used for hand washing. A class could organize a school event to collect new bars of soap which could be donated to organizations like the Red Cross.
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||Very Good|
Students are challenged to consider the relationship between poverty and preventable disease as part of the larger global issue of inequitable resource distribution. As they explore grass-roots aid strategies they will gain new insight into the power of community action for community improvement.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
This resource encourages critical thinking about the links between environment, human health and economics. Students will recognize that infectious disease can ravage communities while causing increased burdens on public resources like hospitals.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
Students will question why so many children die from preventable disease and gain an increased awareness of the multitude of factors that contribute to disease resistance.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Good|
Throughout this resource students are encouraged to consider how individual action can support global initiatives that improve life in developing countries. A class could build upon learning with an action project that educates their peers about the human crises caused by pollution and contaminated water.
|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
Poverty misconceptions are challenged as learners become more aware that several illnesses can be eradicated with proper infrastructure. Many students will also be motivated to act on new learning through personal stewardship strategies.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
Students will learn that poor hygiene is often not a personal choice but a result of poverty. Understanding the difficulties of children trying to access clean water and proper sanitation will definitely increase student concern for the welfare of others.
|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|
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
This lesson deals with challenges in maintaining basic health infrastructure in poorer regions of the world. However, Canada has its own poverty issues, particularly in First Nations reserves where housing is often inadequate. A class could explore why our wealthy country that has an abundance of fresh, clean water still has citizens facing illness caused by poor living conditions.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
This resource does present a positive vision for the future where global health concerns are improved through citizen action. To further support this concept students could compare disease statistics in communities where organizations like Oxfam have constructed freshwater wells and regions that still struggle to find clean water.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
|Open-Ended Instruction||Very Good|
Prior knowledge is activated through a hands-on inquiry process that supports independent thinking.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
This unit supports science outcomes associated with disease biology and building simple machines. Social studies and health concepts related to healthy living and sustainable communities are integrated into the lesson. Students also use writing skills to develop educational materials.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
Students are presented with a hands-on problem where they use exploration and discovery to build their own water pump.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The practical approach ensures that the lesson will appeal to a wide variety of learners.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
An authentic problem forms the basis of the lesson and an emphasis on teamwork engages students in a meaningful task that is applicable and relevant to current world issues.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Peer to peer interaction with a focus on dialogue and idea sharing is a key strength of this lesson. Teams also prepare educational materials for youth in communities where disease is taking a toll on human life. To ensure a complete learning experience a class could link with a school in a developing country to share the messages they created and discuss the daily challenges facing less fortunate children.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Satisfactory|
A self-reflection “passport” provides a tool to evaluate how each student achieves in skills such as teamwork and communication. The education materials produced by students could be used as a formal assessment of content learning using a standard English Language Arts rubric.
|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 to peer communication is integrated into every aspect of this lesson and results in the production of educational materials that can be used to teach others.
|Peer Teaching: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
This resource focuses on a world issue that is currently on the forefront of political debate.
|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|
By designing their own hand-washing devices students learn that creativity and innovation are important tools in alleviating human health crises.
|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.|