Environmental Water Education- Middle and High School
To provide clear, concise environmental water education by developing educational videos and a virtual library of water information that is communicated in an engaging and interactive means to reach middle to high school students.
The program will promote environmental literacy, personal responsibility and stewardship for our environment and help to foster an understanding of our water crisis.
The ultimate goal of environmental education is the development of an environmentally literate citizenry that will be challenged to innovate solutions to our water problems.
Environmentally literate individuals understand environmental issues and how environmental quality is impacted by human decisions. In addition, they use this knowledge to make informed, well-reasoned choices and take action at a local level.
1. Create interactive program by utilizing digital media and content rich lesson plans to allow children to gain knowledge and skills to become environmentally literate young citizens.
2. Develop a virtual library of water based information that students can interact with to gain knowledge that they can apply to their own communities. Videos will demonstrate solution based learning models, real hands on experiences for students and raise questions for classroom discussions.
3. Build lesson plans, discussions and processes around each video topic that will promote stewardship of the environment and challenge children to problem solve potential solutions. Lesson plans will align with content standards in science, math and social studies. Interactive activity guides will be used promote highly level of engagement.
4. Create challenges ( contests) at the school and community level among young people to improve water quality, conservation strategies and mitigate risk by taking action in their own communities to solicit change. Teachers and students will develop strategies and processes which will be submitted to share on its website and virtual library and further education.
5. Promote awareness of the natural water beauties that we are trying to preserve and protect by providing unique water learning videos. Encourage children to make their own videos of water destinations in their own communities to share with others to post on the website.
6. Nurture skills that enable students to take action in their own communities through outreach projects that teachers and students can replicate in their own water environments to gain hands on learning and problem solving skills. Motivate students to take skills and apply them to their local sources.
7. Develop surveys to determine children and teachers motivations on conservation and preservation before and after video classes to see if behavior and motivations were changed from extrinsic to intrinsic.
Education Content and Focus
The guiding principals and underpinnings of this program’s environmental education are the belief in lifelong learning, interdisciplinary teaching and active learning as well as a focus on examining environmental problems and their possible solutions across varying scales (e.g., local to global, present to future).
Major components of environmental literacy were identified: affect, ecological knowledge, socio-political knowledge, knowledge of environmental issues, skills, environmentally responsible behaviors, and determinants of environmentally responsible behaviors.
Environmental literacy is predicated on the belief that if we educate our citizens so they are capable of making quality decisions, they will do so when the time comes.
The video library and lesson activities will incorporate the following pedagogy:
Strand 1 – Questioning, Analysis and Interpretation Skills
Environmental literacy depends on learners' ability to ask questions, speculate, and hypothesize about the world around them, seek information, and develop answers to their questions. Learners must inquire, mastering fundamental skills needed to gather and organize information, interpret and synthesize information, and develop and communicate explanations.
Strand 2 - Knowledge of Water Environmental Processes and Systems
An important component of environmental literacy is understanding the processes and systems that comprise our water environment, including human systems and influences. That understanding is based on knowledge gained from across traditional disciplines. The understandings in this section are grouped in sub-categories:
Overall water crisis and water scarcity;
Drinking water, sources and potential risks;
Concepts of virtual water and water footprint;
The living environment and natural systems;
Water conservation and preservation strategies;
Understanding where water comes from including watersheds, rivers, lakes and aquifers;
Humans impact on natural water systems;
Environment and Society;
Local action and implications for change in behavior.
Strand 3 - Skills for Understanding and Addressing Environmental Issues
Knowledge is applied in the context of environmental water issues. These environmental issues are real-life dramas where differing viewpoints about environmental problems and their potential solutions are played out. Environmental literacy includes the abilities to define, learn about, evaluate, and act on environmental issues. Children will gain a sense of empowerment over taking actions.
Skills for analyzing and investigating environmental issues;
Decision-making and citizenship skills;
Challenges to innovate and model change in their homes, schools and communities.
Strand 4 - Personal and Civic Responsibility
Environmentally literate citizens are willing and able to act on their own conclusions about what should be done to ensure environmental quality. As learners develop and apply concept-based learning and skills for inquiry, analysis, and actions, they also understand that what they do individually and in groups can make a difference.
Concept based videos that are engaging to teens and provide interactive components for uploading their own relevant subject matter videos. Utilize the “You Tube” idea for education;
Utilizing real teens in many of these videos, we want to raise awareness and educate them, while ensuring that the subject matter is delivered in a fun, engaging and interactive landscape;
Teens serving as the guides in these short video documentaries where they will tackle subject matter lessons;
Concept of children teaching children to keep teens interest;
Web based learning modules and related videos that are accessible to middle and high school educators and their student populations that relate to specific learning goals and cover content areas and water subject knowledge;
Classroom and community activity guides to accompany videos which incorporate classroom learning standards and promote civic responsibility;
Showcasing amazing water destinations and unique water attractions in a geographic video library that children will be motivated to preserve and protect;
Demonstrating how environmental education can be used to meet standards set by the traditional disciplines and to give students opportunities to synthesize knowledge and experience across disciplines and domains;
Defining the aims of environmental water education to support schools in becoming more sustainable through implementing practices into their programs and activities;
Empowering student population to make positive decisions that impact their immediate surroundings.
Our programs aim to involve students in assessing their school or home water uses. Classes can carry out a water check-up to get a basic picture of the school or home water conservation or wastage and to help them identify a list of possible water conservation actions.
The check-up will assign their school or home a star rating. This gives a basic picture of the school or home water use, conservation or wastage and helps to identify a list of possible water conservation actions. The next step is to take action! The school that achieves at least 2 water conservation actions from their School or Home Water Check up will be eligible to enter their school or that student into a national drawing for scholarships.
Environmental education often begins close to home, encouraging learners to understand and forge connections with their immediate surroundings. The environmental awareness, knowledge, and skills needed for this localized learning provide a basis for moving out into larger systems, broader issues, and a more sophisticated comprehension of causes, connections, and consequences
The program will be directed at children ages 11- 18 and primarily targets middle to high school school students, teachers, administrators and families.
The program will seek partnerships with state environmental agencies, national parks and recreation departments and other municipalities to be able to incorporate local water issues and management solutions.
Children involved in lower economic situations often do not have the same opportunities to learn about environmental education, therefore this project will first target Category 1 children and the at risk population of children in middle and high schools.