Teach the Earth > Service Learning > Example Service Learning Projects > Put Some Blue In Your Green School

Put Some Blue In Your Green School

Bridget Cameron and Linda Ruiz McCall
Texas Water Development Board

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Mar 10, 2010


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
Note: This activity is designed as a framework to provide guidance and resources for the instructor. It is expected that the activity will be adapted to serve the needs of the students and community partners.

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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

Water Basics:

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;

The Put Some Blue in Your Green School is part of the People Need Water Legacy Cycle.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Essential Questions:

  1. How do you use water at home? At school?
  2. How does your school use water both indoors and outdoors?
  3. How does your school's water use vary during the school year?
  4. What products or materials in your school do not use water directly, but consume water in being production?
  5. Why is water conservation important?
  6. What is a water audit?
  7. What types of water saving technologies and equipment are currently available?
  8. How do innovative technologies and water reuse help conserve water?
  9. What behavior changes can you make at home and in your daily life to conserve water ?
  10. How can your school be an example for water conservation in your community?

Correlation to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills

Earth Science Literacy Principles

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Use knowledge to solve real-world problems:

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

Water conservation teams will perform a school water audit to determine how much water the school uses (indoors and outdoors), what activities and behaviors contribute to water loss and waste, and what changes could be enacted to conserve water at their school.

In this service learning project, students will collaborate in teams and with community partners to:

Determining whether students have met the goals

Individual assessment:

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.

Group assessment:

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.

Click image to enlarge.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

"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 .

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