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This eight lesson ESD resource explores global water issues. Activities emphasize the interdependence of human society, encourage an appreciation of cultural diversity, draw attention to the importance of respecting human rights and promote student action.
Each of the eight chapters examines water issues through case studies which link water availability to population dynamics, food supply, poverty, health, education, gender inequalities, human rights, and environmental sustainability.
Using a cross-curricular approach this resource highlights the importance of balancing the social, environmental, and economic aspects of water issues in order to achieve sustainability.
Topics addressed include the water cycle, water use, water availability, water in agriculture, climate change and water, water-borne diseases and gender issues related to accessing clean water. Emphasis is also placed on specific actions to secure water availability in the future.
Each chapter can be taught as a stand-alone lesson or the entire package can be implemented as a comprehensive unit.
Chapter 1: How is water distributed around the world?
Students read and discuss the information found in tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning water facts, the water cycle, the distribution of earth’s water, and women’s role in water collection. After completing some general questions, they are asked to create a movie on the water cycle, compose a creative writing piece on the “life cycle of a water droplet”, and generate a quiz for classmates on the water cycle.
Chapter 2: How has water availability changed over time?
Students read and discuss information found in tables graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning world water distribution, population and water, physical and economic water scarcity, water stress and Millennium Development goals related to clean water. After completing general questions, students are asked to create a Venn diagram to compare similarities and differences between water stress and scarcity, complete a diary entry that describes a young person before and after water taps are installed in their village and design a slogan, poster, or advertisement on a topic related to global water availability.
Chapter 3: How is water used by people?
Students read and discuss the information found in figures, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning the uneven access and consumption of water in developing countries compared to developed countries. The financial cost of water, the spiritual use of water, and water diseases are also examined. After completing some general questions, students are asked to brainstorm reasons why people in developing countries pay more for water than those in developed countries., and to design a campaign to promote the importance of safe drinking water. Activities include a carrying their personal daily water consumption in buckets a distance of 50m, creating short video clips teaching hygiene practices related to hand washing, safe water handling/ storage, and sanitation, and writing a water diary of a person living in the slums of Manila.
Chapter 4: How is water used in agriculture?
Students read and discuss the information found in tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning water used in agriculture today and in the future. Students also examine the water footprints of different countries. After completing some questions students are asked to compare water footprints among different countries, design a recipe book with meals that use less water and calculate their own personal water footprint. Groups of students then design a website, film or advertisement to educate people about water footprints and tips on how to reduce them.
Chapter 5: Does climate change affect water availability?
Students read and discuss the information found in tables, graphs, diagrams, pictures and text concerning the predicted impact of climate change on water availability in various part of the world. Case studies in Tuvalu and Bangladesh are highlighted. The economic and environmental cost of bottled water is also addressed. After completing questions students are asked to create a mind map of the impacts of climate change, conduct research into aspects of climate change on Pacific Islands and create a movie about the plight of “water refugees”. Students are also encouraged to develop a campaign to reduce or stop the sale of bottled water in their schools.
Chapter 6: Case Study: Water Issues in Asia-Pacific
Students read case studies of water issues in Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam. After comparing and contrasting issues affecting these countries, students choose another Asia-Pacific country and research how it has been affected by arsenic contamination. Other activities include a Power Point presentation on a water-borne disease, and playing an online water issue game.
Chapter 7: Case Study: Water issues in Africa
African case studies highlight the gender inequalities which persist in many developing countries with regards to the labour involved in accessing safe drinking water. After completing overview questions, students are asked to create a multimedia presentation about women and water in Africa and develop an action plan for rural Uganda to improve access to safe drinking water. This action plan is presented to the class in a creative format- role play, website, TV ad, or pamphlet.
Chapter 8: What action can be taken to improve water availability?
Students read case studies about the merits of desalination plants in Australia and Great Britain as a means of developing alternative sources of fresh water. They also examine other campaigns designed to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and its sustainable management. Students are encouraged to take personal action in saving water. Activities include evaluating the effectiveness of some WaterAid strategies, creating cartoon water messages, debating water desalination as a class, and conducting a water audit for the school. After the audit, students create an action plan to present to school councils or boards with ways to reduce water consumption.
This resource could be used in a science course studying water systems or the consequences of climate change. It is also an excellent resource to use in geography or social studies classes which are examining the sustainability of our choices, and the impact they have in the global community. We are all connected.
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 resource presents different points of view through case studies, statistics, personal testimonies, data collection, and computer research. Students gather and examine this information and draw their own conclusions.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Very Good|
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
The approach promotes dialogue , discussion and action within groups of students. The resource encourages open-ended solutions and activities connect environmental and social issues.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
Action plans are suggested, but must be developed and created by the students and teacher.
|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
Activities provide multiple opportunities for student reflection.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
Case studies are powerful and relevant to the topic. Empathy and respect are fostered for those who live in poverty, women and children in some developing nations and those whose quality of life is affected by water issues.
|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|
Although no real out-of -doors activity is included, the resource does encourage planet stewardship and water conservation/preservation.
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
The calculation of ecological footprints, as well as, personal and school water audits bring local focus.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Good|
In-depth information and statistics are displayed for global trends of various types of water use, population growth and climate, These easy-to-read visuals allow students to compare present situations with those predicted for the future. The future is seen as positive if we develop a more sustainable plan for water consumption and create better technology that allows us to re-use and desalinate water.
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
A combination of guided and structured inquiry is used. There are opportunities for students to link their own experiences and they are able to discover and design solutions on their own
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
Although primarily a science, social studies and geography resource there are opportunities to address outcomes in language arts, visual arts, and media arts.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
The resource teaches to both the cognitive and affective domains. A variety of instructional strategies are used but there are no accommodations suggested for students with learning difficulties. Lessons provide a gradual release of learning responsibilities from teachers to students.
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
The lugging of buckets of water serves as an effective simulation of the daily routines carried out by many people in the developing world.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Poor/Not considered|
Poor. Overview questions are given but no suggested answers. There are no rubrics or checklists to capture formative or summative information about student learning.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
|Case Studies||Very Good|
|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|
|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.|