This unit provides students with the opportunity to become persuasive promoters of the values, behaviours and lifestyles that support environmental sustainability.
The Curriculum Framing Questions guide students through a series of learning sequences in which they investigate their own use of water, which they then compare to the quantities authorities indicate are required for sustainability. They probe for hidden water usage in our choices of food, packaging, transport and other material goods. They assess the compatibility of common lifestyle choices and behaviours with the sustainability of available water resources. Using their findings students devise practical strategies for minimising water wastage. They develop and promote an action plan that encourages people in their community to adopt behaviours and lifestyles that harmonise with sustainable usage of water resources.
Students participate in a range of activities including research, debate, oral, written and multimedia communications that lead to the creation of several products that are informed by, and provide evidence of their learning. They work in teams using Intel’s Visual Ranking Tool and Showing Evidence Tools. They develop their capacity to publicise their ideas through presentations in their local community and make their products available for distribution through a wiki.
This unit, including the Essential and Unit Questions could be readily adapted to focus upon other consumables such as electricity, gas, packaging, fuel, wood or food.
What factors influence how much water you use?
How do the authorities regulate how much water we use?
What simple behaviour changes can save water?
What are water saving devices and how much water do they save?
What is “hidden water”?
How do life style choices determine the amount of water we use?
What actions can you take to promote responsible water use in your community?
What support can you provide for people to help them put water saving strategies into practice?
View how assessment is used in this unit plan. These assessments help students and teachers set understandable goals, monitor student progress, provide feedback, assess thinking, performance and products, and reflect on learning throughout the activities.
Students Prior Knowledge
Most students have lived their whole life under the constraints of government regulated water restrictions. Through media campaigns, most will have a sense of the need to be “Water Wise” and some sense of what this means in terms of their own behaviours. Students will also have experience working in small groups and using search engines to research. Some students may be familiar with the constructing wikis and can provide peer support for the class.
It is expected that students will have some experience using common search engines to research. Being able to work collaboratively to achieve team goals is critical throughout this unit. Students need to know what it means to work ethically and safely in an online environment. The need to know how to work legally, observing copyright and showing respect for the intellectual property of others.
Teachers Professional Learning
Teachers need to be familiar with the Visual Ranking and Showing Evidence Tools and set up a workspace for their students. Teachers who have participated in the Intel Teach Program will be well positioned to provide support as members of Professional Learning Teams. Each of these tools also provides online tutorials. Teachers also need to be familiar with wiki development. Online help is available at http://www.wikispaces.com/site/help* and http://www.wikispaces.com/site/for/teachers100k*
Bloom’s (Cognitive Processes Dimension)
Marzano’s Dimensions of Learning (Cognitive System)
Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind
Teaching and learning activities are organised into four sequential sets, each one designed to address a specific Unit Question. The first set of activities combine to form an investigation that escalates student’s awareness of the ways, and quantities, in which they consume water. They use what they learn to respond to the UQ, “How much do we use?” This knowledge assists them to personalise their inquiries throughout the remainder of the unit. In the second set of activities students investigate three areas that influence their personal water usage: 1) regulation by the authorities (eg. water restrictions), 2) their behaviours (wasteful versus water saving) and 3) lifestyle choices. They use their findings to respond to the UQ “What determines how much we use?” These first two activity sets ensure that students begin the third activity set from a well informed perspective that is directly relevant to them. Using what they have learned, students develop locally applicable, effective water saving strategies that reflect the values, behaviours and life styles that support sustainability. They then participate in actions that promote these strategies, with the aim to change how people in their community think about water saving. In the final activity set, they produce and publish a multimedia presentation as their response to the Essential Question. An Implementation Checklist (XLS 40.5KB)is provided with this unit as teacher support.
An individual student checklist for each activity set has also been developed to support student self-direction and accountability:
The suggested time for each activity is given in multiples of 50 minute teaching periods. With many of the activities it may be appropriate for students to complete part, or even all, of the activity outside of timetabled class time. If time constraints make the implementation of this entire unit difficult or impractical, the teacher may make a suitable selection of activities to meet the learning goals. Activity Set 1 and 2 could be taught as individual short units that address one unit questions each.
Introduction (1x20 minutes -class discussion)
Students are shown the How Much is Enough Overview (PPT 6.55MB)PowerPoint. Teacher discusses structure of unit with students and informs them the learning artefacts they will produce. When discussing Activity Set 2, the teacher can use the slides to broaden students thinking about ways in which we use water.
Activity Set One (Addressing the Unit Question: How much do we use?)
Activity Set Two (Addressing the Unit Question: What determines how much we use?)
Activity Set Three (Addressing the Unit Question: What actions are required to use only what we need?)
Activity Set Four (Student’s response to the Essential Question: How much is enough?)
(2x50 minutes class work and 120 minutes homework, working in groups creating multimedia presentation, assessment)
Students with Special Needs
Most of the learning activities in this unit are open-ended. The teacher should ensure that students set individual goals appropriate to their ability when researching and developing their strategies. When using the Visual Ranking Tool the teachers could consider appropriate pairing to ensure students can receive support from peers. This will be particularly needed when students use the Showing Evidence Tool. Special needs students can negotiate how they will be presenting their strategies (for example as a multimedia presentation).
English as a Second Language (ESL) Students
ESL students can use the language translation tools available in most search engines and in MS Office applications. The Intel® Education Help Guide is available for download in many languages. When developing their strategies and the products that promote these strategies students can use graphical representations if they choose. Clarification of the learning tasks could be made through bilingual students of an appropriate level or through community volunteers or relatives so the student.
Most of the learning activities in this unit are open-ended. The teacher should ensure that students set individual goals appropriate to their ability. When researching hidden water use within the materials we purchase, gifted students have the opportunity to explore beyond the obvious. For example, how much water is required to produce a car, a shirt or an iPod? With appropriate goals, students of all abilities will be challenged when developing their water saving strategies and developing the products that they will use to promote these strategies.
Indigenous students may bring a different perspective to matters of environmental sustainability and land use. Such cultural viewpoints can be accommodated through negotiation of appropriate learning activities and goals through which learning outcomes can also be met. Consultation with the student’s parents and/or local representatives of indigenous elders would provide valuable guidance.
Alan Thwaites participates in the Intel® Teach Program as a Senior Trainer and facilitator, and developed this portfolio.
© State of Victoria 2010
Alan Thwaites participates in the Intel Teach Program as a Senior Trainer and facilitator; he developed this portfolio. Copyright is owned by the Crown in right of the State of Victoria. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for study or training purposes, subject to the inclusion of an acknowledgment of the source and no commercial usage or sale. Reproduction for the purposes other than those indicated above requires the written permission of the Department of Education. Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and copyright should be addressed to the Liability Management Manager, Department of Education, 2 Treasury Place, Melbourne, VIC, 3002The State of Victoria accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any part of this material and bears no responsibility for any modifications made.
* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.