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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;
Evaluation using an online educational tool and group self-assessment
In investigating selected water issues and reporting on their findings, students learn
The unit has students investigate an issue of major significance using effective pedagogy. The student investigation is supported by current and relevant material.
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.
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||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: |
|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.
|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
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.
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.
|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.|
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
|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.|
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.
|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.|