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That's Impossible!

Just turn on the tap, right?

Secondary

Description

This lesson plan aims to sensitize students to the importance of preserving water resources (especially fresh water) that are essential to the survival of human beings and to the balance of the planet. It also warns of the enormous differences that exist in various parts of the world regarding access to drinking water and to the basic sanitation network.

The unit consists of four sessions;

• Session 1 (45 min): Introduction to the theme + large group analysis of
 various news related to water scarcity.
• Session 2 (90 min): Small groups analysis of the UN Report + presentation
 on key findings of the document.
• Session 3 (45 min): Debate about water scarcity.
• Session 4 (90 min): Inform and involve; Making of infographics about the
 subject using ICT.
•Evaluation using an online educational tool and group self-assessment
  • Session 1 (45 min): Introduction to the theme + large group analysis of various news related to water scarcity
  • Session 2 (90 min): Small groups analysis of the UN Report + presentation on key findings of the document.
  • Session 3 (45 min): Debate about water scarcity.
  • Session 4 (90 min): Inform and involve; Making of infographics about the subject using ICT.

Evaluation using an online educational tool and group self-assessment

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

In investigating selected water issues and reporting on their findings, students learn

  • read for information
  • organize information for presentation
  • create graphs and charts to illustrate their presentations
  • deliver effective oral presentations

Strengths

The unit has students investigate an issue of major significance using effective pedagogy. The student investigation is supported by current and relevant material.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

The issue of water scarcity is most relevant for those units of study that focus on sustainable development and more particularly for geography units dealing with natural resource availability and use, for social studies units examining world inequities and the challenges facing the developing world, and for civic studies that explore the concept of national and global citizenship.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 12: Human actions affect the quality of water and its ability to sustain life.
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geographic Issues of the 21st Century: Natural Resources
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Geography: A Human Perspective - World Resources, Energy, and Environment
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability: Area of Inquiry: Social Justice and Human Rights
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
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    • Grade 11
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Physical Geography 110: Natural Regions of the World
    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Introduction to Environmental Science 120: Sustainable Development
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canadian Geography 120:Managing Natural Resources
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues 120:Interdependence
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 12
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      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 3205: Water Use & the Environment
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 12
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      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 30, Freshwater Systems:Freshwater Resource Management
  • Nova Scotia
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    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Environment
        • Citizenship 9: Global Citizenship
    • Grade 10
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Spaceship Earth
    • Grade 11
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography of Canada 11: Geography of Risk
    • Grade 12
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      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Geography:Resources and Commodities
  • Nunavut
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    • Grade 10
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Northern Studies: Our World Today
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Experiential Science 30, Freshwater Systems:Freshwater Resource Management
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Managing Canada's Resources and Industries
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Managing Canada's Resources and Industries
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Human Health and the Environment
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Regional Geography (Univ./College Prep.): Sustainability and Stewardship
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Connections
        • Living in a Sustainable World (Workplace Prep.) Sustainability of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Univ./College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship of Natural Resources
        • The Environment & Resource Management (Workplace Prfeparation)
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (College Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
        • World Issues: A Geographic Analysis (Univ. Prep.):Sustainability and Stewardship
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Citizenship in the Global Community
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 521A, Global Studies: Physical Patterns of the World
        • Geography 531A (World Geography): Physical Patterns of the World
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 621A Global Issues : Inquiry- What are the issues?
        • Geography 631A Global Issues: What are the issues?
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Geography 10: Economic Geography
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Environmental Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Environmental Science 20: Aquatic Systems

Themes Addressed

  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Water (4)

    • Water Quality
    • Water Treatment and Distribution
    • Water Use
    • Watershed Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The unit has students investigate the availability and distribution of water. It offers data that suggests that although we see ourselves as living on the "blue planet", the amount of potable freshwater is quite limited and the future supply is threatened by our activity.

The goal of the unit is to help students recognize this reality and to consider how we should respond individually and collectively. 

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

As part of their investigation, students review the findings of the UN Report, UNWater - Facts and Figures. The Report serves to underline the multidimensional nature of the challenges we face with respect to the availability and distribution of water. Topics include, floods and droughts, water supply and sanitation services, population growth and human settlements, poverty, health and nutrition, etc.

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

Students learn of the man factors that are the cause of water scarcity - deforestation and consequent soil erosion, low fire control practices, contamination, inadequate agricultural practices, excessive irrigation, household waste, etc) - and of the many good practices to preserve water, reduce consumption and waste.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Good

As a concluding exercise, students work in groups to prepare sets of infographics to illustrate what they have learned about the global water situation and what may be done to meet the challenges identified. Students do their presentations to other groups in the school and display their charts in the school grounds.

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

Questions regarding the causes and consequences of global water scarcity raise discussion about current inequities and fairness. Discussion about the responses available to us leads to consideration of individual and collective responsibility and our role as citizens both at the national and global level.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2019, Leaving no one behind, is a major source of information for the students. The report draws attention to the global inequities with respect to water availability and notes that about 4 billion people, representing nearly two-thirds of the world population, experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year and several water-related diseases, including cholera and schistosomiasis, remain widespread across many developing countries, where only a very small fraction (in some cases less than 5%) of domestic and urban wastewater is treated prior to its release into the environment.

Students could analyze the book A long walk to water - based on the true story, by Linda Sue Park. It is a book that is part of the Portuguese National Reading Plan and portrays the life of a teenager from Sudan who traveled miles to fetch water. A history of resilience and a wake-up call for water scarcity in many African countries. 

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

The focus of the unit is on the impact of the water crisis on the world's population. Water scarcity is obviously having an impact on the natural world but this is viewed in this unit in terms of the consequence of this for humans. Another unit might be developed which would focus on the impact water scarcity is having on plants and animals.

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 unit is concerned with the scarcity of water at the global level. Students identify the causes and consequences of this scarcity and note that the hardships created by this scarcity fall heavily on the most vulnerable, especially those in the developing world. Teachers and students may, however, find local examples of the causes identified such as deforestation, groundwater contamination, inadequate agricultural practices, and household waste disposal.

In addressing the question, What can we do?, students consider individual and collective actions at the local level that focus on reducing and reusing in terms of their home, their school, their community.

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

Students emerge with an understanding of the current reality with respect to water scarcity, an appreciation of the urgency of the present situation, and of the need to take action to avoid a future in which the situation worsens rather than improves. 

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

A key resource for student investigation of the water crisis is the UN Water 2019 Report, wherein, the various factors responsible for the current scarcity are introduced. Student reading of the document will make them aware of the complexity of the issue and cognizant that any effective response must be multidimensional. 

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

The causes of water scarcity is examined through multiple lenses or disciplines. The geographer/ environmentalist will consider the role of climate change, floods, and droughts. Medical science will want to explore the health implications of scarce or polluted water. Social scientist will be interested in the role of population growth and human settlement. Economist will ask about the cost of this scarcity in terms of its impact and the bill for addressing the needed response.

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 Good

The lesson asks the students to investigate two questions. What are the causes and consequences of water scarcity and what can we do about it?

Students are given the necessary material to investigate these questions and asked to report their findings to their classmates and others.

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 Good

The information that students require to answer the questions posed by the lesson is presented in several forms - the UN Water 2019 Report, a series of power point graphs, and a number of recent newspaper, magazine articles about water and the world. Student presentations on various water issues further enhance student understanding of the issues.

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

Student learning is authentic in the sense that the issue of water scarcity is real and student investigation of the issue draws on reports and newspaper articles that are primary sources.

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

Students work in small groups to investigate various questions related to water scarcity and to organize presentations on their assigned topic.

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

The unit suggests that teachers develop a quiz to assess student understanding but the more meaningful evaluation will come from the self evaluation grid that is provided so that students may assess the effectiveness of their presentations on various water issues.

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

The concluding exercise has students create infographics to be displayed in the school grounds and make presentations to other groups in the school. 

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 Poor/Not considered

Student resources include a number of magazine and newspaper articles that investigate the water situation in South Africa, India, Brazil, and a number of major cities. 

It is also suggested that students could analyze the book “A long walk to water - based on the true story”, by Linda Sue Park. It is a book that  portrays the life of a teenager from Sudan who traveled miles to fetch water. A history of resilience and a wake-up call for water scarcity in many African countries

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

Once the introductory lessons are completed and the teacher has set the agenda, students assume the responsibility for investigating a water issue of their choosing and presenting their findings.

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.