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How Much Is Enough?

How Much Is Enough?

Unit Summary

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.

Curriculum Framing Questions

  • Essential Question:
    How much is enough?
  • Unit Questions:
    How much do we use?
    What determines how much we use?
    What actions are needed to use only what we need?
  • Content Questions:
    How do we measure how much water we use?
    How much water does your family use at home?
    What is the water used for at home?
    How much water do you use at home?
    How much water is used at your school?
    What is the water used for at school?
    How much water do you use at school?
    How much water do you use when you are not at home or at school?

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?

Assessment

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.

Prerequisite Skills

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*

Teaching and Learning Taxonomy for Unit – Focusing on Higher-Order Thinking Skills

Bloom’s (Cognitive Processes Dimension)

  • Analysing: As students use the Visual Ranking Tool to order their major and minor uses of water they are differentiating. When critically examining accepted strategies for sustainability they are attributing.
  • Evaluating: As they use the Showing Evidence Tool to refine their strategy claims they are critiquing.
  • Creating: They are generating when they develop strategies that encourage the community to think in ways that harmonise with sustainability. In creating a suite of products that promote these strategies, they are producing.

Marzano’s Dimensions of Learning (Cognitive System)

  • Comprehension: Students use the Visual Ranking Tool to prioritise their main uses at water and to reach a consensus through comparing their evaluations with other student groups. Using the Showing Evidence Tool strengthens their ability to construct and defend sound arguments.
  • Knowledge Utilisation: In developing their strategic action plan, students are involved in decision-making processes in which they must choose the most appropriate course of action.

Costa and Kallick’s Habits of Mind

  • Managing Impulsivity: Using the Visual Ranking and Showing Evidence Tools supports students to think carefully, taking sufficient time to research, question and evaluate before acting.
  • Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision: This unit supports students to become “persuasive promoters of the values, behaviours and lifestyles that support environmental sustainability.” Thinking tools assist them in planning, arguing and evaluating so that they have the capacity to articulate and defend their strategies.
  • Creating, Imagining, and Innovating
  • This unit supports students to be creative and to examine situations from different perspectives. It encourages them to critically examine their own ideas, invite criticism from others and to refine their ideas and products.

Teaching and Learning Activities

Overview

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:

Time Needed

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 1: Establishing what we know about how we use water  (1x30 minutes -class discussion)
  • Class brainstorming session which serves to establish how aware the students are of the ways in which they use water. Students facilitate this activity with two or three student leading the questioning and another student acting as class recorder. Using an interactive whiteboard or other means, a class a list is made of up of the ways in which students use water. The teacher should encourage students to think beyond obvious water uses by employing elaborating questions such as, “What ways do you use water when you are not at home?”, “Do you go to the local swimming pool in summer?”, “Are you using water when you have dinner at home?”, “Are you using water when you buy your lunch?”. As a class, students use the list they have created to vote on the top 10 to 12 ways that they use greatest quantities of water. (See the Activity 1 What Do We Know? (DOC 37.5 KB)instruction sheet for suggestions on how this activity could be facilitated.)
  • Activity 2: Heightening awareness of how we personally use water (1x50 minutes –working in pairs, online Thinking Tool activity)
  • The teacher uses the shortened list from Activity 1, arranged in alphabetical order, to populate the Visual Ranking Tool. Students are provided the Activity 2 How Do We Use Water The Most? (DOC 38KB)Instruction sheet explaining the task and giving them directions and login details for the Visual Ranking Tool. Working in pairs students use this thinking tool to create a ranked list of their personal water usage from the highest consumption to the lowest. They use the tool to give reasons for their choices and to compare their ranked list with those of other teams.
  • Activity 3: Preparing to make a report on personal water usage (1x25 minutes -whole class discussion on assessment product and individual report preparation.)
  • The teacher distributes and explains the Activity 3.5 My Water Usage Report Template (DOC 84.5KB)that students will use to summarise and comment on their findings for Activities 2 and 4. This will be used to progressively construct the written report required to complete Activity 5. Teacher also discusses with students the self-assessment rubric which is accompanies the report template. Students complete the “How do I use water?” section of their My Water Usage report based upon the list they generated in Activity 2, including a screen capture of their list from the Visual Ranking Tool.
  • Activity 4: Quantifying our water usage (4x50 minutes –investigation, including online thinking tool activity, one week of data collection from home and school and data analysis at school, individual report entries. Computer access required [individual or in pairs], online thinking activity, whole class discussion, interview with expert.)
  • Students take meter readings, at home and at school, to quantify their water usage.
    • Part 1 – Water use at home: Students take domestic water meter readings each morning and afternoon for one week and record their results use the Activity 4 Quantifying Our Water Usage (XLS 47KB)spreadsheet. (Note: The teacher should ensure parental permission is obtained. If this is not possible, typical domestic usage data can be obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.) Students use these readings to generate a graph, which they analyse to estimate their personal water usage. They should identify and match peaks and troughs in usage to time/activities periods and give reasons for these peaks and troughs. They report their findings in the “Estimate of my home water usage” section of their My Water Usage report from Activity 3.
    • Part 2 – Water use at school: Begin by considering how you use water at school. Most students will think of the drinking fountains and the toilets as their only uses of water in a school context. The teacher should help students to broaden their thinking by employing elaborating questions such as, “Are there any subjects in which you use water?”, “Do you ever use a swimming pool as part of your education?”, “Do you ever wash anything at school?”, “Are you using water when you buy your lunch?” and so on. The students generate a list of water uses at school and the teacher uses the list to populate the Visual Ranking Tool. Students are provided the Activity 4.2 How Do We Use Water At School? (DOC 37.5 KB)Instruction sheet explaining the task and giving them directions and login details for the Visual Ranking Tool. Working in pairs students use this thinking tool to create a ranked list of their personal school based water usage ranking the list from the highest consumption to the lowest. They use the tool to give reasons for their choices and to compare their ranked list with those of other teams. Next students take water meter readings for their school each morning and afternoon for at least one week. As with Part 1, students record their readings in the Activity 4 Quantifying Our Water Usage (XLS 47KB)spreadsheet. (The teacher should ensure appropriate permission is obtained. Alternatively the teacher could provide this data.) Students use these readings to generate a graph, which they analyse to estimate their personal water usage at school. They should identify and match peaks and troughs in usage to time/activities periods and give reasons for these peaks and troughs. (see Activity 4.2 Teacher Support - Analysing Readings (PDF 988KB)for an example.)They report their findings in the “Estimate of my school water usage” section of their My Water Usage.
    • Part 3 - Following the instructions in the Activity 4.3 Comparing Water Use (DOC 76KB)Showing Evidence Project handout, students use the Showing Evidence Tool to consider the claim: “The amount of water you use at school is very small compared to what you use at home.” After using the tool to consider the evidence, students verify or refute the claim made. (see Activity 4.3 Teacher Support - Comparing Water Use (PDF 1.09MB)for an example.) They report their findings in the “Comparing Water Use at Home to Water Use at School” section of their My Water Usage.
    • Part 4 – Interviewing the experts: Students interview one or two local experts to discuss their analysis of the pattern of water usage they observed in parts 1 & 2. (This could be a school-based maintenance person/s, a parent, a local plumber or someone from a local water authority.) After some general observations, if possible the “expert/s” could be available for brief consultations with the students. To keep this session productive students should be permitted only one or two well prepared questions. Following their consultation they complete the “How does my analysis compare to the opinion of an expert in water usage?” section of their My Water Usage report. (See Activity 4.4 Teacher Support Expert Interview (DOC 36.5KB).)
  • Activity 5: What did we learn? (1x50 minutes –individual written report, class discussion to share findings, response to the first Unit Question and submission of major report)
  • Students complete the “What I discovered about my water usage?” section of their My Water Usage report. A class discussion then takes place with students each sharing one feature of their water usage that they did not realise before their investigation or another notable feature. Following this discussion they write a response to the first Unit Question: How Much Do We Use? Students then individually complete the “Self-assessment rubric” section of their My Water Usage report. They should be given some time to reflect upon their self assessment and improve the quality of their report.   At an agreed time, perhaps next lesson, they submit their My Water Usage report to the teacher for final assessment. Part of this activity can be completed at home. The information in this report can provide baseline information that students can use to make Activity Set 2 easier to personalise.

Activity Set Two (Addressing the Unit Question: What determines how much we use?)

  • Activity 6: Keeping and assessing a research journal (1x50 minutes - individual and whole class preparation lesson for recording findings)
  • Students keep a journal of their research throughout the second activity set. The journal is assessed at the completion of this activity set. To clarify what their Research Journal is expected to contain, the teacher should distribute and discuss the Activity 6-12 Journal Template (DOC 80.5KB)with students. This document also contains a partially completed assessment rubric. As a class, discuss the assessment criteria. What other criteria should/could be included? How would these criteria be assessed? Support the students in developing one or two criteria to add to their rubric. These criteria could relate to assessing individual goals or be developed as a whole class.  Their response to the Unit Question in the last section of their My Water Usage Report from Activity Set One becomes the first entry for their My Research Journal.
  • Activity 7: Introduction to factors that influence how much water we use. (1x50 minutes –graphic organiser, written report and class discussion)
  • Students familiarise themselves with 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 are provided with a partially completed cluster map (Activity 7 Cluster Map (DOC 30.5KB)), which they use to identify specific examples of how these influences affect the amount of water they use. The Cluster Map is added to their My Research Journal Activities 8 to 11 investigate these areas in more depth.
  • Activity 8: How do the authorities regulate water use? (2x50 minutes –web based research and individual written report)
  • Students research domestic water usage requirements as determined by regulating bodies. They explore a local water authority website such as ‘Melbourne Water’, ‘Sydney Water’ or another appropriate site and answer the following questions. What are water restrictions?  How much water do the authorities say we need? Who are these “authorities”? How do these authorities calculate our water needs? How does what the authorities say you need compare to how much is used by your school, your family and by you? Students write a summary of their findings in their My Research Journal.
  • Activity 9: What simple behaviour changes can save water? How much can they save? (1x50 minutes - web based research and individual written report)
  • Students research simple ways that we can save water through changing our behaviours. There are many suggestions on water authority website on how we can achieve the daily recommended water usage targets. In their My Research Journal students make a list of at least five simple behaviour changes that will reduce the amount of water we use.
  • Activity 10: What are water saving products can we use and how much water can they save? (1x50 minutes - web based research and individual written report)
  • Students find out about the water saving products we can install. These products range from inexpensive fixings such as water efficient shower heads to water tanks and grey water recycling systems and through purchasing appliances with low water use ratings. They choose one product and find out how it works, how much it costs and how much water it can save. For example they can investigate water tanks and research how they can how much rainwater could be collected each year from their school or from their home? How much water would this save over a year? Students write a report on the product they chose in their My Research Journal.
  • Activity 11: Hidden water and life style choices: How do our choices determine the amount of water really we use? (2x50 minutes – web based research and written report)
  • Students investigate how life style choices and the day to day choices we make, can significantly increase or diminish our water footprint. Almost everything we use, from buildings, furniture, clothing, vehicles, fuel and food, requires water to produce. This water is called “hidden water” (also referred to as embedded water or embodied water). One example of hidden water can be found in the meat we eat. To put 1 kg of meat on the dinner table requires 15500 litres of water if the meat is beef, 6100 litres of water if it comes from sheep and 3900 litres if it is chicken. (Source http://www.waterfootprint.org/* )This means that choosing beef for dinner requires 4 times more water than choosing chicken. Following the instructions in the Activity 11 Hidden Water And Lifestyles (DOC 31KB) Showing Evidence handout, students use the Showing Evidence Tool to consider the claim: “By eating more chicken and less beef you will save a lot of water.” Students consider the evidence and then decide whether they believe that the claim is justified or not. After using the tool to consider the evidence, students verify or refute the claim about hidden water in food.  Similar comparisons can be made between choosing grains like rice or wheat. Students can also investigate how much their choice of clothing effects their water consumption. Other areas for investigation could include: Should anyone own a private swimming pool? Does it matter what type of garden we have? Is growing our own food water efficient compared to purchasing food from the supermarket? How much water is involved in the production of commodities such as cars, mobile phones, paint and other things we all use. How much water is required to produce a 600ml can of soft drink? Does turning off a light switch save water? Students write a report on what they have discovered in their My Research Journal. They include recommendations on how they can reduce hidden water use in their life. They also recommend lifestyle choices that should be avoided within the context of sustainability.
  • Activity 12: What determines how much people in our community use? (1x50 minutes -written report and assessment)
  • Students complete their Research Journal by writing a response to the Unit Question, What determines how much people use? Their response will be based upon their research notes on Activities 6 to 11 and students are expected to appropriately reference statements and claims that they make in their response. Students submit their My Research Journal for assessment by their teacher and one of their peers using the assessment rubric developed in Activity 6.

Activity Set Three (Addressing the Unit Question: What actions are required to use only what we need?)

  • Activity 13: What actions can you take to promote responsible water use in your community? (2x50 minutes –working in groups, develop a plan, online Thinking Tool activity and assessment)
  • Students develop a practical, locally appropriate Strategic Action Plan (DOC 38.5 KB)for supporting sustainability of our water resources. The strategies included in their plan should be informed and inspired by their findings from Activities 1 to 12. Their plan should include cause and effect claim statement/s ie ‘if we do this then that will result’. It should also contain practical information that people can use to implement the plan. Students validate and refine their strategy claims using the Showing Evidence Tool, and strengthen their ability to defend their strategies. Using their work from the Hidden Water and Lifestyles from Activity Set 2, Activity 11, students add a claim they developed in their strategic plan. Following the instructions in the Activity 13 Showing Evidence Activity (DOC 28.5 KB)handout, they should add their claim to the tool and provide at least three pieces of evidence that justify their claim. Students then invite at least two other teams to review their claim and provide feedback on whether the claim is justified or not. Using this feedback they make any necessary revisions to their strategic plan and then present it by their family or other adults or friends for evaluation. Using this final feedback they make appropriate revisions to complete their strategic plan.
  • Activity 14: What support can you provide for people to help them put water saving strategies into practice? (3x50 minutes –working in groups, creating products, designing and creating a wiki, oral presentation)
  • Students seek feedback on their action plan from the teacher after which they make any appropriate revisions. They then create a range of products that promote the water saving strategies they developed in their Strategic Action Plan from Activity 13. They make their products available for distribution through a wiki. They also develop their capacity to publicise their ideas through presentations in their local community – Activity 14 Publicising Action Plan (DOC 29.5 KB). Each student group provides feedback for at least two other groups on their part of the wiki and its contents. The Strategic Action Plan and the products made constitute the student’s response to 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)

  • Activity 15: Changing the way people think: helping others to think about “How Much Is Enough?” Students collaboratively develop a multimedia presentation that will be the front entry point for anyone viewing the Water Save Wiki. The teacher should enthusiastically encourage students to recognise that this is a significant opportunity for them to become persuasive promoters of the values, behaviours and lifestyles that support environmental sustainability. The presentation should address the unit Essential Question, How much is enough? It should inform, inspire and motivate individuals to want to do what they can to support sustainable practices to the extent that they are able. The motivational value and usefulness of the Water Save Wiki will be evaluated by visitors to the site using an online survey developed by the students. The teacher acts as a critical friend in the development of the wiki and the survey.

Accommodations for Diverse Needs

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.

Gifted Students

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 Groups

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.

Credits

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.

How Much Is Enough?

At a Glance

Years: 5 - 9

Subject: Mathematics, Citizenship

Time Needed: 23 x 50 minute class periods OR mixture of class time and work to be completed as homework.