World of Water
The vision for this project is for our students to broaden their understanding of the importance of protecting water. I wanted students to gain perspectives of water issues locally, nationally and globally. I wanted to intertwine science with language, arts and social studies for students to see how big of a topic it is and the grand importance of water. I wanted students to have the experience to test water locally, learn about where their local water sources come from and where it goes in sewage treatment. I wanted students to learn about First Nations water issues in Canada. I wanted students to learn about water access around the world. My end vision was for students to feel empowered to take on an action item of interest to help solve or bring awareness to a water issue.
With a classroom water testing kit from Water Rangers, students learned about ways to test water. We tested and tracked the water in the Arrow Lakes for 4 weeks looking at pH, temperature, conductivity, total dissolved oxygen and clarity. Students gained confidence in learning about how to successfully collect water quality information and what each test was showing in terms of water quality.
Although our findings only ‘told’ the story of a healthy oxygen rich water supply in our local lake, we learned about other places around the world where water quality is not as great. Our novels described water supply in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Malawi where water quality was not drinkable and caused terrible sicknesses. Another novel described a fictional example of a severe drought where there was no water and how difficult it would be to continue to live without drinking water, let alone all the other ways that water is used. Students calculated their water footprint and learned how much water is used in food production, transportation and our homes.
Our project is still ongoing and students have not completed their novels. At the completion of our water book club, students will complete a task for water. Students will be sharing their findings next week with another class, and my intent is for students to write a letter to our village to communicate our findings. I will also be encouraging students to write a letter to other government officials to explain their stance on access to clean drinking water throughout Canada – highlighting the need for more to be done in First Nations communities.
Although our project included pocket microscopes to look at water samples, we were not successful in noticing anything in our local clean water samples. I hope that in our field trips coming up to other water areas, we might be able to notice parasites under the microscopes that could lead to further questions. We did use the pocket microscopes as part of our rock study unit and students observations were incredible and addictive. It was exciting to watch students notice the amazing crystal formation in rocks.
Reflection & Celebration
Diving into water is a very large topic! Students were very engaged with learning about water. The hands on weekly water tests became a habit with every student having a chance to be the water scientist for their group. I would like to stretch the topic of water into a year long project and learn from special guests. It would also be great to pair up with a class in a different part of Canada and compare results with them.
In celebration, students will be creating messages in art and letters to share our findings of our water testing, our overall feelings about the importance of keeping our water healthy and in promoting access to clean water for all Canadians. We are going to enjoy a day at our local beach to celebrate our water unit and welcome summer.