Search for Resources

Water Crisis: Local & Global Issues

Elementary, Middle, Secondary

Description

Starting with the question ‘how much water do you use in a day?’ students investigate water consumption, water quality, water scarcity, access to clean drinking water and other relevant issues including how climate change is affecting the planet’s water resources. Students will calculate their personal water footprints, examine water problems in various cities around the world, propose solutions to global water shortages and identify conservation actions they can personally undertake in their own homes and communities.

In addition to the water use calculator the resource includes a slide presentation and links to articles and case studies to support students in this inquiry.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • Using a footprint tool
  • Building consensus

Strengths

  • easy to implement
  • all materials included for successful completion
  • the issues of water availability and conservation are made relevant to the students' own circumstances

Weaknesses

Additional background information for the teacher and additional sources of information to support the student inquiry would improve the resource.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

This easy-to-implement lesson will support teaching units dealing with water distribution on earth, water availability, water equity, water and climate change, and water conservation.

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
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • British Columbia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Issues and Governance: Complex global problems require international cooperation to make difficult choices for the future.
  • Manitoba
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Cultures: World Issues
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth's Surface
  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Our Northern Land and Its People: The North's Resources
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Nova Scotia
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Social Studies 6: World Issues
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • People and Environments: The Role of Government and Responsble Citizenship
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Natural Resources around the World: Use and Sustainability
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Inequalities: Economic Development and Quality of Life
      • Science & Technology
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Geography
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Academic): Liveable Communities
        • Issues in Canadian Geography (Applied): Liveable Communities
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • World Issues
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Water Systems on Earth
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada: Resources and Wealth
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Science
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Science 8: Water Systems on Earth
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Individual in Canadian Society: Resources & Wealth
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Global Issues and Governance: Complex global problems require international cooperation to make difficult choices for the future.

Themes Addressed

  • Air, Atmosphere & Climate (1)

    • Climate Change
  • Citizenship (1)

    • Sustainable Consumption
  • Water (5)

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

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

There is no effort to advance one particular cause or solution to the water crisis.  Students develop an understanding and perspective on the issue by collecting data and reviewing case studies. 

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 Satisfactory

The case studies describing different causes and effects of water problems in cities around the world provide the context for examining the environmental, social and economic dimensions of the water crisis.

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 information provided for students adequately represents the complexities of the water cycle and the interrelated causes and consequences of limited access to clean drinking water.

Respects Complexity:

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

Acting on Learning Satisfactory

Students begin by calculating their personal water use and conclude the lesson by identifying steps to reduce their consumption.

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

Students are given the opportunity to share their understanding of the water crisis as experienced by different cities around the world.

Values Education:

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

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The inequality of access to clean drinking water is made very clear in the case studies students are presented with.

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

In examining different reasons for the water crisis, students consider the importance of wetlands and the need to protect them. 

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

The water-usage activity in which students calculate their consumption helps to make this inquiry personal and relevant.

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

While there is a message of empowering individuals to make a difference and a sense of urgency for action, there is little attention given to a timeline for the water crisis.

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

Students calculate their water-usage footprint, complete their own assessments of the water crisis occurring in different parts of the world and determine best steps forward based on their findings and discussions with classmates.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

The lesson addresses outcomes in science (water cycle, wetlands, climate change, pollution), social studies (access to drinking water, inequality, human population, regulation) and geography (major cities of the world)

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

Students are presented with 3 key questions: how much water do you use each day, what evidence is there of a water crisis and what can you do about it. How they go about answering these questions is quite scripted.

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

Students complete a footprint activity, view a slide presentation, conduct research using materials provided by the resource, share their findings with classmates and develop a course of personal actions to take.

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

Other than the using the water footprint tool to calculate personal daily water usage, their is little offered in the way of 'hands-on' or real world experience.

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

The lesson includes one group assignment/activity.

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

Assessment tools or suggestions are not provided.

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

Providing for understanding of the different types of water crisis faced by cities around the world is the responsibility of small groups of students working cooperatively.

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 Very Good

Students form much of their understanding of the water crisis by reviewing case studies that describe problems faced by major cities.

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 Poor/Not considered
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.