I have been updating and adding to my Water is Life unit and I am SO excited by the big change. I’ve always done a “water walk” to kick off the unit. I got the idea when my church was raising money to help put a well in a community in Nicaragua. The high school youth group students did a walk carrying a bucket of water on their heads. Then they asked for people to fill a culligan water jug at church! They were in the paper and everything! (I live in a small town…)
So when I started teaching about the water crisis, I wanted that same impact. The feeling of walking while carrying water. My students have no prior knowledge so they need even the smallest experience with how this feels. And it has always been impactful… but this year, it was even more so!
I moved the water walk! I decided to start with a new hook instead. We played the role of National Geographic Explorers and walked around our school area looking for places they had easy access to sources of water. They recorded their findings in “explorer journals” and took pictures with their i-Pads as they found many more sources than I noticed on my solo walk through!
In their journals, they drew pictures, speculated what plants, animals, and people used the water source. They recorded whether the water was safe to drink as-is or if it needed to be boiled.
After this hook, we began our unit. With the available water sources fresh in their minds, they were SO much more alert to the problems caused by not having fresh water nearby!
As we wrapped up the unit, just before our final assessment, we did the water walk. Sort of a “closing hook”. The discussion that followed was FILLED with evidence that they had learned to use Spanish to discuss this relevant, current topic and that they were moved by what they had learned.
One of the greatest moments was when we were emptying our jugs and they were groaning about how many people needed that water and they were just pouring it out on the ground!
Check out our explorer journals here. I have to thank Abra Koch and Nat Geo Education for the idea and Martina Bex for the Explorer journal design! Nat Geo Educator Certification has been very impactful in my classroom! Check it out!