Water Education Portal

Educate. Empower. Act.

Project WET Blog

Syndicate content
Updated: 1 day 11 min ago

Project WET’s Top 17 in 2017

Tue, 2017-12-19 12:22

From the Vatican to Papua New Guinea, Kentucky to California, 2017 was full of exciting people and places engaged in water education using Project WET. The following curated list offers the 17 most important stories for Project WET in 2017, told chronologically. To see all the year’s news, you can check out our media page. Happy holidays, and all the best in 2018!

Some 25 Ecolab employees were trained to use Clean and Conserve in Monheim, Germany 1. Ecolab Volunteers in Germany Launch Clean and Conserve with Festival for 100 Students: A hundred students from a local primary school attended the first Clean and Conserve water festival held in Germany. The event—which followed a training for 25 Ecolab employees to lead the festival—marked the launch of the German-language version of the Clean and Conserve Education Program.

2. Lessons from the Headwaters: A pilot partnership between the city of Bozeman and the Project WET Foundation has significantly increased public awareness of both stormwater management and water conservation by targeting young people with interactive, science-based activities about stormwater.

3. Farming and Teaching Family’s Donation Funds New Water, Agriculture and Food Publication for Kids: About 80 percent of people in the United States live in urban areas today, meaning kids are less likely to have a personal connection with agriculture—and therefore may have little understanding about how water relates to food. To help address this knowledge gap, the Project WET Foundation is developing a new "Water, Agriculture and Food" children’s activity booklet.

St. Peters Square, Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0 4. On World Water Day 2017, Project WET Advocates for Water Education at the Vatican: Project WET participated in WATERSHED, a series of events streamed live from the Vatican on World Water Day. WATERSHED was launched following a Papal Audience with Pope Francis and included Project WET water education resources.

5. Educators in Papua New Guinea Tackle Water Issues With New Project WET Materials: Some 20 local educators learned new ways to teach kids about water using a Project WET module customized for Papua New Guinea. The new booklet has seven activities covering a variety of water topics, including the water cycle, water quality, watershed protection and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Ricky Arnold (Photo by NASA) 6. Project WET Board Member Chosen for 2018 International Space Station Crew: Ricky Arnold is among five NASA astronauts who have been assigned to upcoming spaceflights. Arnold, a Project WET Foundation Board of Directors member since 2011, will join another NASA astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut for International Space Station Expeditions 55 and 56 to launch in March 2018. 

7. Members of Levi’s Service Corps use Project WET activities to engage with factory in Mexico: Project WET staff took part in the Levi Strauss & Co. Service Corps program in Mexico in April. The program is designed to teach LS&Co. employees about the work and lives of the people who make Levi’s products. Approximately 14 local school teachers, 15 LS&Co. employees and five factory staff were trained to teach students about water using Project WET activities about water conservation and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Fulton Elementary School, in of San Diego, California, won the grand prize for a water conservation project 8. LS&CO. Celebrates Schools That Save Water: In 2016, Levi Strauss & Co., Scholastic and the Project WET Foundation delivered water impact education to around 1.5 million U.S. elementary school children. As part of the curriculum, students had the opportunity to bring a water-saving idea to life at their own school via an entry sweepstakes. Over 800 entries were received! Fulton Elementary School, in of San Diego, California, won the grand prize.

9. Teaching Children to Protect Water: A Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) employee, Heather Hess, has taken time each year since 2015 to organize a World Water Day festival using Project WET activities at the NWNA headquarters office in Stamford, CT.

10. Engaging Kids in Need and Giving Back to the Community: Rob Griffith, a Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) employee who grew up a child in need, is now using Project WET to teach kids in urban, low-income schools about water. In addition, he has also helped nurture an innovative partnership with local law enforcement to incorporate water education into community events.

11. Getting Little Feet Wet Garners Awards and Recommendations: Project WET’s new water education guide for early childhood educators has been officially endorsed by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). In addition, Independent Publisher magazine has selected the new guide for a Moonbeam Children’s Book award.

Angie Olaya has trained people from many different backgrounds to use Project WET 12. Changing Perspectives About Water: Angie Olaya, a facilitator in Colombia, says that Project WET has helped her educate all kinds of people about the importance of water, creating new spaces to implement activities and initiating new educational programs, in companies, universities, business organizations, and more schools and water utilities.

13. Outdoor educator and Americorps Volunteer Teaches Thousands About Water: A California educator named Ian Taylor has attended four Project WET trainings in three different states. He says Project WET has helped him in his career as an outdoor educator, during which he estimates he has reached several thousand people.     

14. Ecolab’s E3 Group Recognized as WaterStars: E3 is an employee resource group at Ecolab focused on empowering, engaging and energizing Ecolab to measurably accelerate the advancement of women leaders to drive business growth. The community outreach committee within E3 has held three successful Clean and Conserve events with one more planned with a local STEM magnet school later this year.

Jason Vanzant is dedicated to providing hands-on experiences for his students 15. Whetting Kids’ Appetites for STEAM: A teacher from North Carolina, Jason Vanzant, has been using Project WET in the brand-new science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) lab he has been developing with the help of a grant from Lowe’s Education Toolbox.        

16. Water Education TV Launches: This fall, Project WET launched a new video series called Water Education TV. The episodes are designed to help educators of all kinds bring common water topics into their classrooms in fun, hands-on ways.

17. Complete NGSS Correlations Now Available for Guide 2.0: All 64 activities in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 have been fully correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards. The NGSS are designed to ensure that all students have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers. Educators can now use Project WET activities to move toward that goal.

Environmental Education Matters—Now and in the Future

Wed, 2017-12-13 14:52

Environmental Education: A Strategy for Today and Tomorrow’s World as it appears on the Pisces Foundation website David Beckman, president of the environmental philanthropy, the Pisces Foundation, offered a manifesto of sorts for those of us involved in environmental education in a recent blog post. Drawing from his own experiences as a young boy who attended a school in Philadelphia with abundant access to the natural world, Mr. Beckman explains how his experiences in nature shaped his work as an advocate for the environment. He draws a direct line between the time he (and others) spent in nature as children and a commitment to environmental stewardship, asserting that environmental education “teaches children, from the earliest ages, to be good stewards of our environment.” He also lists out a compendium of other benefits of environmental education:

 

“We know now that environmental learning sticks with kids more than traditional learningfuels interest in science, and sparks the curiosity that makes kids better learners, including in math and the language arts. It also improves health and wellness, because play outdoors improves children’s mental and physical healthEnvironmental education strengthens children’s self-esteem, leadership, and character, and enhances social justice by leveling the playing field across genders and ethnicities.”

 

The millions of educators who use Project WET have long recognized that water education teaches students about more than the water cycle, wetlands or whatever individual water topic an activity covers. With hands-on, interactive methods that often work best in nature, Project WET activities offer educators the chance to positively impact their students’ lives and future choices with lessons they teach today. It’s a pleasure to see environmental education in the spotlight, acknowledged for its role in creating a society more aware of the world around them. As Mr. Beckman says, “While it doesn’t tell young people how to think, environmental education does teach kids to be better-informed members of their community.”

About the Pisces Foundation: The Pisces Foundation believes if we act now and boldly, we can quickly accelerate to a world where people and nature thrive together. Pisces mainstreams powerful new solutions to support innovators who know what it takes and are doing what’s necessary to have clean and abundant water, a safe climate, and kids with the environmental know-how to create a sustainable world. To learn more about Pisces’ work and collaborations visit http://piscesfoundation.org/:

(The above excerpt appears with permission from David Beckman and the Pisces Foundation but does not imply endorsement of the Project WET Foundation. To learn more about the Pisces Foundation, visit their website.)

 

 

Complete NGSS Correlations Now Available for Guide 2.0

Wed, 2017-12-13 11:21

According to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) website, the NGSS are designed to prepare U.S. students “to be informed citizens in a democracy and knowledgeable consumers.”  Developed by education leaders in 26 states, the NGSS assert that “all students must have a solid K–12 science education that prepares them for college and careers.” The standards were finalized in 2013 and have now been adopted by 18 states, plus the District of Columbia. Complete NGSS correlations are now available for all 64 activities in the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 (Guide 2.0).

The original correlations for Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide 2.0 were completed in 2011, based on the "Framework K–12 Science Education" that was created as a forerunner to the NGSS. After a complete review of Guide 2.0’s NGSS correlations after the new standards were released, reviewers determined that all of the activities should be re-correlated to reflect the final version of the NGSS. After more than two years of work, the process of re-correlating Guide 2.0 was completed earlier this year.

Project WET used three correlators familiar with both the NGSS and Project WET to correlate activities to the grade bands defined by NGSS. Correlators created a document for each grade band where the activities correlated to or supported a NGSS performance expectation (PE). The correlations were then reviewed by 25 science curriculum specialists across the United States, a few of whom helped to write the NGSS. Correlation documents were confirmed, edited and updated based on these reviews.

The result is 120 correlations documents for Guide 2.0 and 85 documents for Guide 1.0. Each correlation document offers detailed information on how activities meet each of the three dimensions of a given performance expectation.

The correlations are available to view in table format or in a detailed document describing how each activity addresses the three dimensions of the correlated NGSS performance expectations. Individual correlation documents for each activity are available on the Water Education Portal under the respective activity. Portal membership is included with Guide 2.0 after participation in a Project WET Educator Workshop. Contact the Project WET partner in your area for more information on available workshops.

New Episode of Water Education TV: Your Water Footprint

Tue, 2017-12-12 11:29

Looking for an easy, interactive way to help students think about their water use? Try the water footprint activity, shown here in the version from the Discover the Waters of Tennessee children's activity booklet, in the latest episode of Water Education TV!

Water Education TV: Your Water Footprint (Episode 5) from Project WET on Vimeo.

Nestlé Waters-Sponsored Festivals Reach More Than 6,000 People in 2017

Fri, 2017-12-08 13:42

Students gathered in McBee to learn about water For nearly 20 years, Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) has been sponsoring water festivals across the United States and Canada. In 2017, 10 Make a Splash (MAS) and World Water Day festivals were held in eight U.S. states and one Canadian province. In total, some 130 volunteers from 9 NWNA plants helped reach 6,133 people with hands-on educational activities.

Organizers of the one of the festivals held in Poland Spring, Maine, reported that "presenters and exhibitors come from all over Maine, representing a wide variety of stakeholders concerned with water issues." At the other Poland Spring festival, which is held along a river, organizers noted that the location allows students to "conduct biological, chemical, and physical assessments of the river". Students at that festival also participated in water cycle education activities.

Students and parents competed in several events as part of the H2Olympics activity at the Guelph festival in Canada In Zephyrhills, Florida, NWNA plant volunteers served as group leaders and "led everyone in group cheers as they traveled from station to station." In Big Rapids, Michigan, some 270 area third graders attended this year’s festival, and all students and volunteers received t-shirts. In McBee, South Carolina, students "learned about the water cycle and how water quality affects living creatures", "took part in a relay competition that taught them about water scarcity, global water issues and the importance of conservation" and "learned about the important role water plays in the health of their body." In addition to NWNA volunteers, students from the McBee High School Chapter of Future Farmers of America helped lead the more than 75 fourth graders who took part in the event.

Poland Spring participants received free t-shirts as part of the festival In the Canadian province of Ontario, festival activities included a family-friendly H2Olympics competition as well as activities specially prepared for younger children. Fourth graders in Tennessee near NWNA's Red Boiling Springs plant took part in seven stations to learn about the water cycle, streams, hydration and other topics. All students received a copy of the Discover the Waters of Tennessee KIDs activity booklet. In Pennsylvania's Lehigh River Watershed, more than 1,200 students from three counties had the opportunity to visit 22 different activity stations.

Some festivals included special guests. The Pasco County Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol were a part of the Zephyrhills festival , while Dewey the Water Drop and the Lehigh Valley Beekeepers appeared at Pennsylvania festival. In Poland Spring, local police and firefighters showed up to take part.

Need Help Teaching Hydro-Dynamics?

Thu, 2017-11-30 13:26

The Human Water Cycle Lesson Plan is available now to download, free of charge This year's FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge is causing a lot of excitement among Project WET educators, and there's no mystery as to why: The theme is Hydro-Dynamics and the human water cycle. Here's how the organizers of the challenge describe it:

"Have you ever wondered how you get the water you use in your daily life? Whether it’s to brush your teeth, quench your thirst, cook your food, or even take a swim – all of us need water! Does it come from the ground, a river or a lake? How do you make sure it’s safe to drink, and what happens when it goes down a drain? In this season’s HYDRO DYNAMICS(SM) Robot Game, you’ll explore these questions and many more, and you’ll get to learn about the amazing engineering used to protect your most precious liquid asset – water!!"

In response to educator interest, we have developed a lesson plan to help teach about the fundamental water issues within the human water cycle. It is now available for free download from the Project WET store. We hope you'll use it and report back on how it goes. Good luck with this year's challenge!

Please note that this lesson plan is not endorsed by the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge. It is simply a tool to help educators involved in the Challenge teach students about water by using engaging and hands-on activities. For more information about the FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge visit www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge.

Water Education Haiku: Arizona Project WET Adds the A to STEAM

Thu, 2017-11-09 12:35

The team at Arizona Project WET recently submitted this batch of water education haiku. What would your water education haiku be? Use the #wethaiku hashtag to submit your own haiku on social media. We'll share the results with the world!

(1)

9 years getting WET

Ground, rain, recycled water

Helping teachers grow

(2)

Love to engineer

STEM Curriculum writing

Education day

(3)

Teachers, kids, public

Students, teachers, volunteers

Learn about water

(4)

Activate learning –

Ask questions to prompt thinking

… and discovery.

(5)

Aqua STEM knowledge.

Systems thinking in parts.

Water is the whole.

(6)

Water efficiency savings

Inspiring students

Making a difference.

(7)

Educators, Kids

Coordinating logistics

Successful Program

(8)

Thinks about water

Web, curriculum, teaching

Hands in every pot

Find Arizona Project WET on Twitter at @AZProjectWETand Facebook at @ArizonaProjectWET.

How I Use Project WET: Teaching About Water and Training Employees from Kentucky to Cambodia

Thu, 2017-11-02 10:48

Dana Oliver is a senior procurement specialist at Levi Strauss and a member of the company's Service Corps of volunteers In his professional life as the senior procurement specialist for Levi Strauss & Co.’s U.S. Distribution Network, Dana Oliver is generally concerned with acquiring goods and services for the company’s distribution centers. However, since being a part of the LS&Co. Service Corps last year—an immersion program that allows selected LS&Co. employees to experience what life is like for apparel workers in the developing world—his work life has an added dimension: teaching. Dana is helping fulfill a goal set to train all of the employees in Levi’s distribution centers in the United States and Canada to teach about water and sustainability using Project WET.

Luckily, teaching is in his blood. “The teaching part of working with Project WET has been like second nature to me,” Dana said in a recent interview. “The family business I grew up around involves teaching kids, so when I found out that part of my work with the Service Corps in Cambodia was going to be in front of a classroom, I was excited.”

Dana and his fellow Service Corps members were trained along with five local teachers and five factory workers to teach kids in the classroom about water. The group then visited a school near the factory and taught students about water using hands-on, interactive lessons. The trip made Dana appreciate the water resources available to him in Kentucky, where he lives now, even more than he had before.

Dana traveled to Cambodia with the Service Corps to learn about the lives of factory workers and to teach about water “When you travel to a place like Cambodia, you see firsthand the struggles that people have just getting water,” Dana said. “Once they get it, they then have to treat it to be usable. It made me feel very fortunate to be where I am.”

The experience also inspired Dana to train his fellow employees to teach about water. “The vice president of our distribution global supply chain has committed to having everyone in our distribution network trained by the end of 2017,” Dana explained. “We have three distribution centers in the United States and one in Canada, and each center has multiple shifts. I’ve been traveling to these centers and training trainers to accommodate all the shifts.”

Dana said that trainer classes for each shift have attracted six to 10 people. Those trainers in turn are responsible for reaching the folks on their shifts. “I have now done trainings in all three of our U.S. distribution facilities in Kentucky, Mississippi and Nevada, as well as our center in Canada,” Dana said.

One thing he enjoys about teaching people to use Project WET are the varied reactions he gets to the activities. “Different people are interested in different activities and tasks,” Dana said. “Some people love ‘Drop in the Bucket’; others love ‘Water Footprint’ or ‘Blue Planet’. I always encourage them to share presenter duties. That way a person can become an expert on one activity.”

While training adults to use the activities has become a specialty for Dana, he said that he also loves to teach children about water, as he did in Cambodia.

“I really enjoy working with kids,” he said, adding that the activities are effective because “the material is relevant to everyone—everyone can walk away from the program with something positive.”

Dana noted that his passion for water education stems from the desire to help people understand how they can have a positive impact on the environment.

“If each of us does just one small thing for water conservation, it could make a huge difference,” Dana said. “I always try to hammer home that water is the most precious resource on the planet.”

LS&Co. has been sponsoring the Project WET Foundation since 2015. In 2016, company leaders made a commitment at the White House to use Project WET to train 100 percent of their employees about water and sustainability by the year 2020. To learn more about what LS&Co. and Project WET are doing together, check out these stories:

 

McBee Water Festival in Pictures

Thu, 2017-10-26 12:44

Last week’s water festival at the Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) plant in McBee, South Carolina, brought together 75 fourth graders from two different local schools. Using Project WET activities such as “The Incredible Journey”, “Aqua Bodies”, “Blue Planet” and “The Long Haul”, 12 NWNA volunteers and 15 high school students from a local chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) taught the fourth graders about water conservation, the water cycle, stream health and hydration.

Here are a few pictures of the day's educational fun:

Students gathered in McBee to learn about water

The Long Haul activity teaches students about the challenges of moving water

This activity helps students understand that we all live downstream

The Aqua Bodies activity explains how much water is in the body and how it is used

The Incredible Journey makes students into water drops traveling through the water cycle

 

McBee Water Festival in Pictures

Thu, 2017-10-26 12:44

Last week’s water festival at the Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) plant in McBee, South Carolina, brought together 75 fourth graders from two different local schools. Using Project WET activities such as “The Incredible Journey”, “Aqua Bodies”, “Blue Planet” and “The Long Haul”, 12 NWNA volunteers and 15 high school students from a local chapter of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) taught the fourth graders about water conservation, the water cycle, stream health and hydration.

Here are a few pictures of the day's educational fun:

Students gathered in McBee to learn about water

The Long Haul activity teaches students about the challenges of moving water

This activity helps students understand that we all live downstream

The Aqua Bodies activity explains how much water is in the body and how it is used

The Incredible Journey makes students into water drops traveling through the water cycle

 

Guest Post: New 'Flood Fighter' Video Game Teaches About Emergency Preparedness

Wed, 2017-10-25 13:35

Mary Kay Wagner, Nevada Project WET Coordinator by Mary Kay Wagner, Project WET Nevada Coordinator

In 2017, the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) embarked on several initiatives aimed at reducing flood risk through education and outreach. One of these initiatives, spearheaded by Nevada’s Silver Jackets program (a state-led interagency team working to reduce the risk of flooding and other natural disasters), includes a fun and educational video computer game that teaches people about emergency planning and different flooding scenarios.

Flood Fighter: Nevada is a new video game developed by the Nevada Division of Water Resources, which also sponsors Project WET in Nevada Flood Fighter: Nevada engages students in a technology-based engineering project that has real-world relevance. Game play initiates conversation and further inquiry regarding local flood concerns and the management of public and precious resources. Flood risk reduction is not just about “structural” solutions such as building dams and levees. It’s also about employing “non-structural” solutions, such as knowing what types of flood risks are in a community, how to prepare for these risks and how to improve resilience to natural disasters. When teaching about water resources, this innovative video game promotes awareness about the challenges of water management.

Student-gamers are challenged, entertained and educated as game play levels, technical details, graphics, and delivery of flood risk information are well designed and executed. It enriches STEM education, as an interactive tool and is a great supplement to Project WET activities such as "Macroinvertebrate Mayhem" and "Water Quality? Ask the Bugs!".

The Nevada Division of Water Resources Floodplain Management Program plans to use the Flood Fighter: Nevada video game as an outreach tool for ages 10 and up.

Guest Post: New 'Flood Fighter' Video Game Teaches About Emergency Preparedness

Wed, 2017-10-25 13:35

Mary Kay Wagner, Nevada Project WET Coordinator by Mary Kay Wagner, Project WET Nevada Coordinator

In 2017, the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) embarked on several initiatives aimed at reducing flood risk through education and outreach. One of these initiatives, spearheaded by Nevada’s Silver Jackets program (a state-led interagency team working to reduce the risk of flooding and other natural disasters), includes a fun and educational video computer game that teaches people about emergency planning and different flooding scenarios.

Flood Fighter: Nevada is a new video game developed by the Nevada Division of Water Resources, which also sponsors Project WET in Nevada Flood Fighter: Nevada engages students in a technology-based engineering project that has real-world relevance. Game play initiates conversation and further inquiry regarding local flood concerns and the management of public and precious resources. Flood risk reduction is not just about “structural” solutions such as building dams and levees. It’s also about employing “non-structural” solutions, such as knowing what types of flood risks are in a community, how to prepare for these risks and how to improve resilience to natural disasters. When teaching about water resources, this innovative video game promotes awareness about the challenges of water management.

Student-gamers are challenged, entertained and educated as game play levels, technical details, graphics, and delivery of flood risk information are well designed and executed. It enriches STEM education, as an interactive tool and is a great supplement to Project WET activities such as "Macroinvertebrate Mayhem" and "Water Quality? Ask the Bugs!".

The Nevada Division of Water Resources Floodplain Management Program plans to use the Flood Fighter: Nevada video game as an outreach tool for ages 10 and up.

How I Use Project WET: Whetting Kids’ Appetites for STEAM

Thu, 2017-10-19 12:06

By Jason Vanzant, STEAM lab educator, Newport, North Carolina

Jason earned a grant to build a STEAM lab in the elementary school where he was teaching Editor’s Note: In a recent post on his Vantaztic Learning blog, Jason Vanzant (a.k.a. @MrVantaztic on Twitter) called his new job as a science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) instructor a dream come true. It’s a dream he’s worked hard to achieve, winning a grant for just over $50,000 from Lowe’s Education Toolbox earlier this year. The grant allowed him to turn a classroom in Bogue Sound Elementary School—a K-5 school in Newport, North Carolina, where he had been teaching fourth grade—into a functional STEAM lab. After we contacted him via Twitter, he wrote a guest post telling us how and why he uses Project WET, as well as why water education is important to him.

Water is and has been important to me since I was a kid. I remember watching Sesame Street's snippet on brushing your teeth and why turning the faucet off was important. When I was in 5th grade, I began to consciously select water instead of soft drinks as my beverage of choice, and that has remained a constant in my life to this day.

As a kid I swam in quarry ponds, and now I live in an area of estuaries and Atlantic waves. Water is part of our life force: Nearly three-quarters of our planet is covered with water, and our bodies are made up of 60 percent water. It's important for our future that young people be aware of how much water we have to share, compared to the increasing population it must provide for, and know what responsible measures we must take to ensure its continuous use. 

Jason is dedicated to providing hands-on experiences for his students I have been fortunate in many aspects of my career. Receiving a grant through Lowe's Toolbox for Education to renovate a classroom into a full functioning lab encompassing areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics has been an incredible opportunity. The STEAM lab serves as the hub for all elementary grade levels, offering students an opportunity to create, explore through hands-on experiences and develop critical thinking skills. The lab also provides educators the opportunity to co-teach and gives students alternative methods to learn from one another.

In the lab, all students have access to various forms of technology that allow them to voice their findings and discoveries on social media platforms, learn to code, operate robotics and track and record data. They can apply the data that they track and record to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, while also being able to explore by means of interactive digital labs and supplement as a resource for research.

Overall, the goal of the STEAM lab renovation project is to have each student increase their appetite for one of the many fields science has to offer, and pique those interests by supplying young minds with an environment that engages and stimulates.

As a full-time STEAM instructor, my role allows me to co-teach with grade levels K-5, meeting their science content, assisting as a math coach and leading students in engineering, problem-based and project-based learning activities. Project WET, Project WILD and Project WILD Aquatic play large roles in many of the lessons I integrate into our learning. All of these resources are my "playbook". What I love about Project WET's activities is that they cover an array of skills and topics within a lesson. The integration of math skills, tied with environmental science, tied to problem-based learning and critical thinking is incredible. What I love above all else is that the activities are hands-on. They reach those students who are the “do-ers”.

The Incredible Journey is one of Jason's favorite activities There are so many activities to choose from that picking my favorites is tough, but here are three of my particular favorites:

A Drop in the Bucket: This activity is a great way to make students conscientious about water while also showing metric volume measurement and practicing basic subtraction facts. Students can create graphs to match the visuals from the graduated cylinders and can compare how much water is on our planet versus how much water the human race actually has at our disposal. With an ever-increasing population, this one's a wake-up call to my students.

The Incredible Journey: I love that this gets the kids outdoors and moving. It’s an awesome way for students to move through the water cycle and learn important vocabulary, like evaporation, transpiration and sublimation. I use this activity as a precursor to discussing physical changes for fifth graders. Students roll the dice, keep a record of the stations they travel to (groundwater, glaciers, the ocean, clouds, animals, plants, rivers, soil) and then we gather back to analyze the data and compare results.

What’s the Solution? This one's a forensic investigation, as students use their knowledge of water's solvent properties and chemical changes. They read a case and explore through three hands-on stations (Dissolving Solids in Water, Dissolving Liquids in Water, Dissolving Gases in Water) to figure out that the butler might actually have done it (or not).  It’s another great critical thinking lesson.

Thank you, Project WET.  Thank you for the cross curricular lessons, the hands-on experiences you provide, the awareness of why water is so vital to our existence and the fun that comes with learning.  You've made my job that much easier and more enjoyable.

How I Use Project WET: Whetting Kids’ Appetites for STEAM

Thu, 2017-10-19 12:06

By Jason Vanzant, STEAM lab educator, Newport, North Carolina

Jason earned a grant to build a STEAM lab in the elementary school where he was teaching Editor’s Note: In a recent post on his Vantaztic Learning blog, Jason Vanzant (a.k.a. @MrVantaztic on Twitter) called his new job as a science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) instructor a dream come true. It’s a dream he’s worked hard to achieve, winning a grant for just over $50,000 from Lowe’s Education Toolbox earlier this year. The grant allowed him to turn a classroom in Bogue Sound Elementary School—a K-5 school in Newport, North Carolina, where he had been teaching fourth grade—into a functional STEAM lab. After we contacted him via Twitter, he wrote a guest post telling us how and why he uses Project WET, as well as why water education is important to him.

Water is and has been important to me since I was a kid. I remember watching Sesame Street's snippet on brushing your teeth and why turning the faucet off was important. When I was in 5th grade, I began to consciously select water instead of soft drinks as my beverage of choice, and that has remained a constant in my life to this day.

As a kid I swam in quarry ponds, and now I live in an area of estuaries and Atlantic waves. Water is part of our life force: Nearly three-quarters of our planet is covered with water, and our bodies are made up of 60 percent water. It's important for our future that young people be aware of how much water we have to share, compared to the increasing population it must provide for, and know what responsible measures we must take to ensure its continuous use. 

Jason is dedicated to providing hands-on experiences for his students I have been fortunate in many aspects of my career. Receiving a grant through Lowe's Toolbox for Education to renovate a classroom into a full functioning lab encompassing areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics has been an incredible opportunity. The STEAM lab serves as the hub for all elementary grade levels, offering students an opportunity to create, explore through hands-on experiences and develop critical thinking skills. The lab also provides educators the opportunity to co-teach and gives students alternative methods to learn from one another.

In the lab, all students have access to various forms of technology that allow them to voice their findings and discoveries on social media platforms, learn to code, operate robotics and track and record data. They can apply the data that they track and record to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, while also being able to explore by means of interactive digital labs and supplement as a resource for research.

Overall, the goal of the STEAM lab renovation project is to have each student increase their appetite for one of the many fields science has to offer, and pique those interests by supplying young minds with an environment that engages and stimulates.

As a full-time STEAM instructor, my role allows me to co-teach with grade levels K-5, meeting their science content, assisting as a math coach and leading students in engineering, problem-based and project-based learning activities. Project WET, Project WILD and Project WILD Aquatic play large roles in many of the lessons I integrate into our learning. All of these resources are my "playbook". What I love about Project WET's activities is that they cover an array of skills and topics within a lesson. The integration of math skills, tied with environmental science, tied to problem-based learning and critical thinking is incredible. What I love above all else is that the activities are hands-on. They reach those students who are the “do-ers”.

The Incredible Journey is one of Jason's favorite activities There are so many activities to choose from that picking my favorites is tough, but here are three of my particular favorites:

A Drop in the Bucket: This activity is a great way to make students conscientious about water while also showing metric volume measurement and practicing basic subtraction facts. Students can create graphs to match the visuals from the graduated cylinders and can compare how much water is on our planet versus how much water the human race actually has at our disposal. With an ever-increasing population, this one's a wake-up call to my students.

The Incredible Journey: I love that this gets the kids outdoors and moving. It’s an awesome way for students to move through the water cycle and learn important vocabulary, like evaporation, transpiration and sublimation. I use this activity as a precursor to discussing physical changes for fifth graders. Students roll the dice, keep a record of the stations they travel to (groundwater, glaciers, the ocean, clouds, animals, plants, rivers, soil) and then we gather back to analyze the data and compare results.

What’s the Solution? This one's a forensic investigation, as students use their knowledge of water's solvent properties and chemical changes. They read a case and explore through three hands-on stations (Dissolving Solids in Water, Dissolving Liquids in Water, Dissolving Gases in Water) to figure out that the butler might actually have done it (or not).  It’s another great critical thinking lesson.

Thank you, Project WET.  Thank you for the cross curricular lessons, the hands-on experiences you provide, the awareness of why water is so vital to our existence and the fun that comes with learning.  You've made my job that much easier and more enjoyable.

WaterStar: Ecolab’s E3 Group

Fri, 2017-09-29 08:32

This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting people around the world who embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Anyone who has used the Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

The Ecolab E3 group focuses on empowering, engaging, and energizing women E3 is an employee resource group at Ecolab focused on empowering, engaging, and energizing Ecolab to measurably accelerate the advancement of women leaders to drive business growth. E3 members can take advantage of networking events, professional development seminars, mentorship and programs to enhance our communities. Members are also encouraged to engage with E3 to get hands-on experience with project and program management. By connecting passionate employees with these opportunities, the community outreach committee within E3 was able to successfully initiate a program to support Project WET and utilize the Clean and Conserve Education materials in 2017.

So far, the group has held three successful events with one more planned with a local STEM magnet school later this year. One of the ways their work with Clean and Conserve is unique is their focus on partnering with nonprofits as well as local schools. Their first event, held at a local Boys and Girls Club, reached 60 students in grades three through six. Another event brought the Clean and Conserve materials to Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Action Day, sharing information and WaterStar tattoos with 120 students ages five to 15. Naturally, their Ecolab colleagues also benefit from the E3 group’s interest in water conservation and hygiene education. On the company’s Bring Your Child to Work day, the E3 group shared the “Blue Planet” and “Conserve Water” activities with 160 students, ages eight to 12.

E3 members taught kids at the Boys and Girls Club and at a United Way event about water conservation and hygiene We connected with the E3 group’s co-leads—Kaycee (Reynolds) Strewler, M.S., a Product Label Specialist with Ecolab’s Institutional Marketing department; Wendi Rodewald, a Senior Distribution Specialist with Ecolab’s Global Operations Supply Chain Logistics department; and Elizabeth McCall, M.Ch.E., a Lead Chemical Engineer with the Research and Development department—to find out how E3 is using Clean and Conserve and why:

Project WET Foundation (PWF): Why did you decide to seek out the Clean and Conserve resources to use with the group?

Ecolab’s E3 Group Co-leads (E3): The Clean and Conserve resources seem to align well with our vision for the E3 community outreach group by being both applicable to larger Ecolab business initiatives and also scalable across multiple E3 chapters. We appreciate the fact that the resources were developed through a partnership with Ecolab scientists and after reviewing the material, found that the modules were fun, interactive, and easy to teach. We knew these criteria would be essential as we broadened the scope of the program through increased material distribution while ensuring lesson retention by students. In addition, we knew that if volunteers enjoyed teaching the material, we could build a sustaining program that would encourage repeat participation.

PWF: What activities or resources have you found particularly useful and why?

One Clean and Conserve activity helps kids understand the healthy actions they can take to prevent illness E3: We love all of the activities - there are plenty of options to educate students of all age groups, group sizes, and activity levels. We found the estimation of water on the globe/beach ball exercise (Blue Planet) to be a fantastic, quick ice breaker that students spanning in ages from 8-13 enjoy. We also utilized the healthy personal hygiene exercise/human knot, a great, quick demonstration of the program in action, and the surface sanitation solutions/tag game, a fun, interactive game with students requiring little in the way of materials or set-up.

PWF: How do you see yourself using the materials in the future?

E3: Our goal as we build this program within our organization is to increase visibility and create something replicable/scalable. We plan to continue developing our partnership with the local Boys & Girls Club organization and STEM magnet schools. We will have a few planned events each year that will serve as the priority focus of the program but will also offer ongoing support as other groups within Ecolab seek to utilize the Clean and Conserve program in their outreach efforts.

 

The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are also available in Mandarin, Spanish for MexicoGerman, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page).

Other WaterStars:

Joseph Dabuo of Ghana (June 23, 2016)

Ashley Satterfield of the USA (July 20, 2016)

Supriya Khound of India (October 25, 2016)

Jamice Obianyo of the USA (January 19, 2017)

EECO Foundation of Pakistan (February 1, 2017)

Beautiful Minds Ethiopia (March 10, 2017)

Doña Ana Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (USA) June 12, 2017

WaterStar: Ecolab’s E3 Group

Fri, 2017-09-29 08:32

This is the latest in a series of posts highlighting people around the world who embody the ideals of the Clean and Conserve Education Program: making the world a safer and healthier place through water conservation and hygiene education. WaterStars will receive printed copies of each book as well as enamel WaterStar pins to recognize their work. Anyone who has used the Clean and Conserve materials is eligible for consideration to be a WaterStar award winner. Submit your story to learn more.

The Ecolab E3 group focuses on empowering, engaging, and energizing women E3 is an employee resource group at Ecolab focused on empowering, engaging, and energizing Ecolab to measurably accelerate the advancement of women leaders to drive business growth. E3 members can take advantage of networking events, professional development seminars, mentorship and programs to enhance our communities. Members are also encouraged to engage with E3 to get hands-on experience with project and program management. By connecting passionate employees with these opportunities, the community outreach committee within E3 was able to successfully initiate a program to support Project WET and utilize the Clean and Conserve Education materials in 2017.

So far, the group has held three successful events with one more planned with a local STEM magnet school later this year. One of the ways their work with Clean and Conserve is unique is their focus on partnering with nonprofits as well as local schools. Their first event, held at a local Boys and Girls Club, reached 60 students in grades three through six. Another event brought the Clean and Conserve materials to Greater Twin Cities United Way’s Action Day, sharing information and WaterStar tattoos with 120 students ages five to 15. Naturally, their Ecolab colleagues also benefit from the E3 group’s interest in water conservation and hygiene education. On the company’s Bring Your Child to Work day, the E3 group shared the “Blue Planet” and “Conserve Water” activities with 160 students, ages eight to 12.

E3 members taught kids at the Boys and Girls Club and at a United Way event about water conservation and hygiene We connected with the E3 group’s co-leads—Kaycee (Reynolds) Strewler, M.S., a Product Label Specialist with Ecolab’s Institutional Marketing department; Wendi Rodewald, a Senior Distribution Specialist with Ecolab’s Global Operations Supply Chain Logistics department; and Elizabeth McCall, M.Ch.E., a Lead Chemical Engineer with the Research and Development department—to find out how E3 is using Clean and Conserve and why:

Project WET Foundation (PWF): Why did you decide to seek out the Clean and Conserve resources to use with the group?

Ecolab’s E3 Group Co-leads (E3): The Clean and Conserve resources seem to align well with our vision for the E3 community outreach group by being both applicable to larger Ecolab business initiatives and also scalable across multiple E3 chapters. We appreciate the fact that the resources were developed through a partnership with Ecolab scientists and after reviewing the material, found that the modules were fun, interactive, and easy to teach. We knew these criteria would be essential as we broadened the scope of the program through increased material distribution while ensuring lesson retention by students. In addition, we knew that if volunteers enjoyed teaching the material, we could build a sustaining program that would encourage repeat participation.

PWF: What activities or resources have you found particularly useful and why?

One Clean and Conserve activity helps kids understand the healthy actions they can take to prevent illness E3: We love all of the activities - there are plenty of options to educate students of all age groups, group sizes, and activity levels. We found the estimation of water on the globe/beach ball exercise (Blue Planet) to be a fantastic, quick ice breaker that students spanning in ages from 8-13 enjoy. We also utilized the healthy personal hygiene exercise/human knot, a great, quick demonstration of the program in action, and the surface sanitation solutions/tag game, a fun, interactive game with students requiring little in the way of materials or set-up.

PWF: How do you see yourself using the materials in the future?

E3: Our goal as we build this program within our organization is to increase visibility and create something replicable/scalable. We plan to continue developing our partnership with the local Boys & Girls Club organization and STEM magnet schools. We will have a few planned events each year that will serve as the priority focus of the program but will also offer ongoing support as other groups within Ecolab seek to utilize the Clean and Conserve program in their outreach efforts.

 

The Clean and Conserve Education Program, developed through the partnership between the Project WET Foundation and Ecolab, includes lessons, activities and other learning resources for children and youth ages three through 18, as well as educators. Visit the Clean and Conserve page to learn more. Originally published in English, Clean and Conserve materials are also available in Mandarin, Spanish for MexicoGerman, French for Canada and Portuguese for Brazil (French and Portuguese materials are available for download from the English-language page).

Other WaterStars:

Joseph Dabuo of Ghana (June 23, 2016)

Ashley Satterfield of the USA (July 20, 2016)

Supriya Khound of India (October 25, 2016)

Jamice Obianyo of the USA (January 19, 2017)

EECO Foundation of Pakistan (February 1, 2017)

Beautiful Minds Ethiopia (March 10, 2017)

Doña Ana Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association (USA) June 12, 2017