Put Some Blue In Your Green School
Put Some Blue In Your Green School is a service learning project to help schools become efficient water users and to raise awareness about the need for good stewardship practices for water resources within the community.
In this project, students will:
- Analyze the water use (indoor/outdoor) at their school
- Work with community partners to raise awareness about the need to conserve water
- Enact behavioral and structural changes to conserve water
This service learning project is targeted to high school science students in courses such as Earth and Space Science, AP Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Aquatic Science. Community partners will vary for each school and may include the school's water service provider, parents, school and/or community service clubs, college students, state and federal government agencies, and businesses.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students and community partners who engage in this project must have an understanding of the basics of water science and policy.
Current Water Planning Challenges:
For Texas, students should be familiar with the Texas State Water Plan projections for their region. Reading the Texas state water plan, Water for Texas.
For locations outside of Texas, students should be familiar with water planning projections for their area.
How the activity is situated in the course
Put Some Blue In Your Green School is a challenge activity within the Texas Water Development Board's new high school curriculum, Water Exploration http://www.twdb.texas.gov/publications/reports/contracted_reports/doc/0904830856_WaterExploration.pdf. Water Exploration, is a Web-based education program which challenges students to conduct research and build an understanding about water science and critical water-related issues.
The curriculum was developed by the Institute for Geophysics in the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin, Texas teachers, and the Texas Water Development Board. Dr. Katherine Ellins of the University of Texas Institute of Geophysics is the primary investigator for the project.
All Water Exploration learning activities are packaged into three "Legacy Cycle" units which are designed to help students learn how scientists approach problem solving. These legacy cycles include;
- Water Basics
- Water-Earth Interactions, and
- People Need Water
The Put Some Blue in Your Green School is part of the People Need Water Legacy Cycle.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- How do you use water at home? At school?
- How does your school use water both indoors and outdoors?
- How does your school's water use vary during the school year?
- What products or materials in your school do not use water directly, but consume water in being production?
- Why is water conservation important?
- What is a water audit?
- What types of water saving technologies and equipment are currently available?
- How do innovative technologies and water reuse help conserve water?
- What behavior changes can you make at home and in your daily life to conserve water ?
- How can your school be an example for water conservation in your community?
- 112.44. Environmental Systems
(3) Scientific processes. The student uses critical thinking, scientific reasoning, and problem solving to make informed decisions within and outside the classroom. The student is expected to:
(3a) analyze and evaluate scientific explanations using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing.
(3b) make responsible choices in selecting everyday products and services using scientific information.
(5) Science concepts. The student knows the interrelationships among the resources within the local environmental system. The student is expected to:
(5b) identify source, use, quality, and conservation of water.
(5f) evaluate the impact of waste management methods such as, reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting on resource availability.
- 112.XX. Earth and Space Science
(2) Scientific processes. The student uses scientific methods during laboratory and field investigations. The student is expected to:
(2a) plan and implement both short- and long-term investigations employing procedures that include asking questions, selecting equipment and technology, formulating testable hypotheses, testing the hypotheses, and reaching reliable conclusions.
(2b) demonstrate use of a wide variety of apparatuses, equipment, techniques, and procedures, such as satellite imagery and other remote sensing data, GIS, GPS, computer, probeware, microscopes, telescopes, and others for collecting quantitative and qualitative data.
(2c) organize, analyze, evaluate, make inferences, and predict trends from data.
(2d) use mathematical procedures such as algebra, statistics, scientific notation, and significant figures to analyze data.
(2e) communicate valid conclusions using several formats, such as technical reports, presentations, and technical posters.
- Big Idea #7: Humans Depend on Earth for Resources
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Use knowledge to solve real-world problems:
- Students collect and analyze data from school water use statements, estimated water loss due to leaks, school population, and school facility maps.
- Students evaluate findings and make recommendations for actions to reduce school water use.
Other skills goals for this activity
- Use communications skills to present findings and recommendations to the community and engage them in taking action to conserve water
- Students will research water efficiency technologies and methods (including behavior changes) and develop and present action plans to an authentic audience.
- Students will find and recruit actions teams including community volunteers.
Description of the activity/assignment
In this service learning project, students will collaborate in teams and with community partners to:
- Collect data from existing sources such as past water bills, campus census data, and school facility maps
- Measure school water use (indoors/outdoor) and make "field" observations by performing the 7-Step School Water Audit
- Analyze data, formulate problem statements, and make recommendations for action plans to improve water efficiency
- Create an extended abstract or poster for the project
- Present the project to an authentic audience of students, teachers, school administrators, water supply entities and other community partners
- Make real-world changes to conserve water
Determining whether students have met the goals
Have the students keep a journal during the service learning project in order for them to reflect on their learning, make connections from their classroom experience to real world problems, and to assess their individual learning. Journal entries should ask how the student feels about the project and why, how they feel their service has impacted the community, and what future service/learning they are interested in exploring.
A rubric for the project (Microsoft Word 29kB Feb7 10) is included and should be presented to the students and community partners and modified as needed to establish the expectations and goals of the project.
Teaching materials and tips
Activity Description/Assignment: 7-Step School Water Audit can be found at http://www.twdb.texas.gov/conservation/.
The 7-steps can be performed seperately or as a whole. Following is a brief summary of each lab:
- Step 1:Brainstorm on the ways your school uses water and map locations of indoor water use.
- Step 2:Log data and create graphs from your school's water bills.
- Step 3:Log data and create graphs after reading your school's water meter.
- Step 4:Measure the rate of flow from fixtures and leaks.
- Step 5: Survey students and staff on water use habits.
- Step 6: Audit the school's irrigation system.
- Step 7: Report your findings and make recommendations to the public.
Community partnerships are essential to the successful completion of this project. Since each school and community is unique, it is up to the instructor to act as the project manager to establish broad based goals, enlist support from school administration, and engage and guide students through a successful learning experience. The outcome should culminate in providing the school and community with understanding about how they can take action to conserve water. The following resources are tools that can be adapted to assist in project management:
- This 8 Block Analysis (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB Mar9 10) is intended as a guidance document for the design and implementation of this project.
- Partnership Resources for this water conservation project may include your water provider, municipalities, river authorities, groundwater conservation districts, federal, state, and local governmental agencies, business partners, and community groups.
Each service learning project will have varying solution sets in the goal to enact water conserving behavioral and structural changes. We hope to include actual case studies as examples in the future which will be posted on the Texas Water Development Board's Conservation Page.
"Water IQ: Know Your Water" is a statewide public awareness water conservation program that educates Texans about water conservation.
Guiding questions and vocabulary resources (accessed 2/7/10)
Water Resources Planning and Information (WRPI) supports the Texas Water Development Board's mission by collecting, analyzing, and disseminating water-related data and by providing other services necessary to aid in planning and managing the state's water resources .