Water Conservation / Love the Earth
Two Guiding Questions:
1. How can we promote water conservation for the sake of future generations?
2. How can we foster a love of our planet?
Inspired by Baba Dioum:
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”
This action project will culminate in three ways:
1. Increasing your personal awareness through research on a topic of your choice.
2. Increasing community awareness by producing a visual that captures key learning.
→ can be a poster, brochure, slideshow presentation, video, etc.
→ can be shared at school, on the internet, or some other appropriate
3. Promoting change by writing a letter and sharing your visual with a decision-maker.
→ can be government officials at the local, provincial, or federal level
→ can be other people of influence in industry
We also accomplished the following:
– explored and analyzed energy and resource consumption at home and in school and looked for ways to reduce waste
– we started a class garden and vermicomposting
– we adopted a class pet to promote love of nature and help with our mental health during this difficult year
– we organized a school-wide grounds cleanup
Reflection & Celebration
This 6 week project brought life to our provincial Science unit that examines water systems. Historically, teaching this unit was abstract for my students, who tend to take our access to clean water for granted. While students readily understand that we live on a planet whose surface is roughly 70% water and that water is essential to humans in many ways, they rarely understand the importance of caring for the water that we have. As such, we spent more time this year examining how humans have negatively impacted water systems and how we can reverse these negative actions. Leading up to our experiment day, we examined the intersections of the human and natural worlds, and how people in developing nations are more severely affected by pollution. Students even participated in a Jug Carrying Contest, in which they hoisted a 5 gallon jug around the classroom to have a small experience of what it is like to have to travel to water sources and carry water back home.
To move further beyond the oversimplified go-to solution of “just clean dirty water”, students participated in an experiment in which they attempted to clean a water sample. Their curiosity was piqued by the request for a hypothesis – could they actually make the dirty water drinkable? – (most said no) and then they worked collaboratively to execute the experiment. They had to communicate, work together, and ultimately reflect on the challenges experienced by many around the world. Their concern for local and global solutions increased, and this in turn focused their efforts on actions they could take to be better stewards of our Earth.
Students demonstrated responsibility and concern for our changing planet when they continued their larger research and advocacy projects. They have been creative in their solutions! For example, one student wrote to our principal to advocate for the collection of reusable garbage items for art projects. Another student was concerned about dead zones, and wrote to our provincial farming association with researched recommendations on how to reduce algae blooms and deoxygenation of water.
From an impact perspective, our class has committed to a number of projects for the benefit of our school that help promote love of the natural world. These include growing an aquaponics garden, caring for a class pet, managing vermi-composting to reduce school waste, and coordinating a school-wide effort to clean our grounds. On a personal level, students have been speaking with their families about the multiple ways they can reduce their carbon footprints and be better stewards of the Earth.
As a result of our research and advocacy, one student’s family is getting into urban hen-keeping and one teacher is even looking at getting solar panels installed at her home! Students have overall demonstrated greater responsibility and desire to promote intra- and intergenerational equity.