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The Power of Water

Theme: 
Water
Grade: 
9, 10
Essential questions
What are some key areas of concern related to our sustainable use of Earth's water resources?
How do personal habits matter in terms of a larger ecology?
What is the difference between physical and economic water scarcity?
How do different populations around the world depend on, value, and interact with water?
What impact have water-conservation designs had on local, regional, and global communities?
Do people who have a lot of water resources have a responsibility to help those who do not?
How can we use biomimicry and design thinking to identify innovative ways of using our water resources efficiently?

MODULE OVERVIEW: Estimated total time needed: Eight class periods
This module contains the following lessons.

Lesson 1: Eco-101: 101 Fundamentals: Water (Estimated time needed: One 55-minute class period)
The purpose of this lesson is to help students understand why Earth is considered the “water planet” and analyze how much of that water humans can actually use for life-sustaining purposes. They explore the concept of water scarcity in both physical and economic terms. Students also investigate three major categories of human water consumption: agricultural, industrial, and domestic. They track trends in water usage among different countries and analyze how people in different regions prioritize their water resources in different ways. They also encounter the concepts of water waste and runoff, and explore ways we can conserve water in agricultural, industrial, and domestic contexts, as well as on a very personal level.

Lesson 2: Eco-101: Global Water Innovations (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students explore global water-related issues and innovations that have been designed to alleviate those issues. They are empowered through discussions, activities, slideshows, and community outreach ideas to seek to understand other cultures and points of view and to acknowledge the need and capacity for all humans to use their imaginations to offer solutions to pressing environmental problems. In addition, students gain a sense of their own capacity to become leaders in efforts to create healthy and sustainable communities and bring about human progress.

Lesson 3: Eco-Activity: Do-It-Yourself Drinking Water (Estimated time needed: One 55-minute class period)
The purpose of this lesson is to give students an opportunity to learn firsthand how water can be disinfected using the SODIS (Solar Disinfection) method. Students follow a few simple steps to learn this low-tech solution that many people in developing nations around the world use to increase their access to safe drinking water.

Lesson 4: Eco-Action: Inspired by Nature (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students explore the ways we can study how natural organisms have adapted to certain environmental conditions and apply what we learn to create sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. Students discuss numerous examples of biomimicry and the relevance of biomimicry to our lives today. Then they work in teams to come up with their own innovative solution to a water-related issue, using inspiration from the natural world.

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