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Global Water and Sanitation Curriculum

Secondary, Middle

Description

Global Water and Sanitation Awareness Curriculum consists of a number of activities (water usage survey,creative writing, art projects, simulations,action plans) designed to raise student awareness of the unequal availability and use of water, the health risks associated with water borne diseases, the link between water and the well-being of women and girls.  Emphasis is given to exploring actions students can take to address these challenges.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

Students have an opportunity to strengthen those skills associated with persuasive argument and with effective advocacy. 

Strengths

The issue of access to clean water is a critical one and likely to become more so in the future. An effective amount of student and teacher material is provided to allow for an introductory examination of the issue. The pedagogy adopted, while not especially creative, involves a good mix of teacher directed and student initiated learning. Additional support and resources are offered by the sponsoring organization.  

Weaknesses

Teachers may have some difficulty in selecting those lessons in the resource that are appropriate to the grade level they teach. Lessons that are labelled appropriate for grades 2-12 are likely to be problematic. 

The resource also includes a number of Fact Sheets and historical biographies. While these  provide useful and relevant information, more attention should be given as to how they may be used in class in a more creative manner.

Recommendation of how and where to use it

While the issue of clean water may be treated at various grade levels, the approach and pedagogy used in this resource would seem to be best suited for middle school students. 

The resource may be used in science classes that begin with the physical and chemical characteristics of water and advance to related issues under the general umbrella of Science, Technology and Society. The resource also has relevance for Geography and Social Studies units that focus on natural resources and their management. The attention given to water borne diseases also makes the resource relevant for certain units in the Health and Wellness curriculum.

More generally, the resource may be used in support of those units of study that have as their focus human rights, the challenges faced by the developing world, and the concept of global citizenship. 

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

The issue of access to clean water introduces larger issues such as human rights, gender equality, inequality of opportunity, individual and collective responsibility, child mortality, and sustainable development.  

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.

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  • Alberta
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    • Grade 8
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        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
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        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Sustainable Prosperity
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        • Science 24:Disease Defence and Human Health
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        • Civic Studies: Civic Action
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        • Social Justice 12: Recognizing and Analyzing Injustice
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        • People & Places in the World: Global Quality of Life
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        • Water Systems on Earth
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        • Current Topics in the Sciences 30S: Science, Technology, Society & the Environment
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        • Freshwater and Saltwater Systems
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        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Sustainable Prosperity
        • Social Studies 10-2 (Living in a Globalizing World) Globalisation and Sustainable Prosperity
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        • Social Studies 10-1(Perspectives on Globalization) Globalization & Sustainable Prosperity
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        • Science 24:Disease Defence and Human Health
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        • People and Environments: Canada's Interactions With The Global Communty
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        • Civics and Citizenship (Open): Civic Awareness
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        • Environmental Science (Univ/College Prep.) Human Health and the Environment
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        • World Issues
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        • Interdependence: Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Citizenship in the Global Community
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        • Environmental Science 621A: Natural Resources
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        • Social Studies 20: World Issues -Human Rights
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        • Civic Studies 11: Civic Action
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        • Social Justice 12: Recognizing and Analyzing Injustice

Themes Addressed

  • Human Health & Environment (2)

    • Environmental Contaminants & Health Hazards
    • Quality of Life
  • Human Rights (4)

    • Education
    • Gender Equality
    • Poverty
    • Social Justice
  • Water (4)

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

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

The sponsors of the resource have as a mandate a resposibility to raise awareness of the challenges faced by much of the world's population in obtaining clean water and to take appropriate action in the face of those challenges. This resource is in keeping with their awareness raising responsibility and reflects the organization's view of the world water situation. The facts presented and the perspective offered on those facts are, however, supported by many others who work in the developing world. 

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 Good

The resource connects the dots in the vicious cycle that links the struggle to obtain clean water to inadequate or polluted sources; to the unequal  burden placed on women and girls and their related inability to obtain the education they need to improve their situation; to the sickness and death that further challenge efforts at social and economic improvement in the lives of many of the world's population.  

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 Good

The resource helps students recognize that making clean water available to those without it is a necessary prerequisite to solving other problems of poverty, health, education, and gender inequality. The resource does not however, give equal attention to the reasons why the necessary solutions are not forthcoming. While it draws attention, for example to how we and others use an inordinate amount of water, it does not explore how reducing our usage would help those who lack clean water.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Very Good

The resource includes a variety of activities to draw attention to the struggle for clean water. Students undertake a number of art and writing project (posters, letters, poetry), organize information booths,  and raise funds  to help others obtain clean water (recycling personal treasures, water walks, wishing wells, water sports day) 

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
Action Skills Good

The list of possible student activities is impressive and could be carried out with a minimum of organization. Tips and suggestions are provided to help students set up information booths and write effective letters.

Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

The aim of the resource is to raise awareness of and empathy for those for whom access to clean water is a daily struggle. The authors of the resource understand that personalizing the larger issue of clean water is the most effective way to promote empathy and therefore they include stories about individuals and families struggling to obtain clean water.  

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 resource is the daily struggle of humans to obtain clean water. 

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

While the resource is concerned with the consequences of a lack of clean water in the developing world, a number of activities are included to draw attention to the students own use of water, to the process by which local water arrives in their taps and to our "difficulties" when the tap does not deliver that clean water.

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 Good

The resource is intended to draw attention to a current issue - lack of clean water - so as to encourage the action required to better ensure a future where clean water is a given 

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 Satisfactory

The focus of the resource is not to have students debate the merits of possible answers to the issue of clean water but to raise their awareness of the issue, to help students in drawing the attention of others to the issue, and to encourage them do what they might as a class to assist those who are working to address the issue.

Open-Ended Instruction :

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

Integrated Learning Good

In order to understand the reasons for and the consequences of a lack of clean water students must reference a number of subject areas.

  • Science - the water cycle
  • Geography - place and water scarcity
  • Biology/Health - water borne diseases
  • Social Studies - gender inequality
  • Arts/Language - advocacy skills

The concept of sustainable development helps students integrate the different subject areas.

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

The lessons adopt a number of teaching strategies to help students gain an understanding of the problems associated with a lack of clean water. Teacher directed instruction and discussions explore the water cycle; student-owned water surveys and Water Challenge Days raise student awareness of their consumption of water; personal stories about the daily struggles of women and girls to obtain clean water reveal the link between clean water and gender in the developing world; student research on infectious disease broadens their understanding of the causes and consequences of water borne diseases; historical case studies enlarges student understanding of infectious diseases; fact sheets provide essential data about the impact of water borne diseases.

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.

 

Values Education Good

In comparing the availability and use of water in their communities with that of others in the developing world, students may be expected to consider issues of "fairness", inequality, and social justice. The various advocacy and other action components included in the lessons will help students explore their responsibility and that of their class and community in addressing the issue. 

Values Education:

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

Differentiated Instruction Good

The lessons include a mix of instruction - teacher directed learning, simulations, data collection and analysis, story/journal writing, advocacy projects - that should appeal to the variety of interests, abilities and talents in the classroom.   

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 Good

Students have a variety of opportunities to learn by doing. They gain an understanding of the discrepancy with respect to water use and availability by comparing their usage to that of others in the developing world, by limiting their water use to a gallon of water in a given day, by collecting and measuring rainfall in their community and comparing it to other places in the world, and by simulating the daily walk women and girls must make to acquire needed water.

The various suggestions for student advocacy on the issue of water may be expected to contribute further to their understanding of the issue. 

Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete.  ‘Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

The lesson directs students to work in pairs in several activities - estimating availability of potable water; positing a definition of infectious disease, etc - and to work cooperatively in measuring local rainfall. many of the advocacy actions suggested by the lesson would be best carried out by small or large group cooperation.

While not directed, there are others instances in which a teacher who wishes to promote cooperative learning may do so.   

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

The lessons do not provide explicit direction for evaluation of assessment but there are plenty of opportunities for teachers to assess student understanding and participation.

  • student water survey reports
  • writing assignments
  • art activities
  • student initiated advocacy plans
  • student research and presentation on a water related disease
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 Poor/Not considered
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 Good

A number of case studies are included in the lesson

  • A Heart Breaking Need for Clean Water describes the daily struggle an Ethiopian mother and daughter to provide clean water for the family
  • John Snow and the Broad Street Pump tells the story of the London cholera epidemic in the mid -1800s
  • The West Episode 3: My Share of the Rock chronicles the U.S. cholera outbreak during the gold rush in the mid 1850s 
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 Satisfactory

Students exercise choice in deciding what infectious disease they will investigate; in choosing a scenario to convey a day in the life of a family without access to clean water; in determining what medium they will use to promote a better understanding of the importance of clean water and to advocate for societal action. 

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.