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Water Eco-Audit

Water Eco-Audit

Essential questions: 
Where is the most water used at your school? Does that amount seem excessive or about right?
How does your school compare to other schools in the area and to “green” schools in terms of water usage?
What could students, administrators, parents, and the community do to improve water-use practices on campus?
Do you think students conducting a water eco-audit can actually help improve the school?
What skills and information can be learned from an eco-audit? Is it a valuable educational experience?
What recommendations do you have for making water management on campus more sustainable?
To whom do you want to make those recommendations?
What strategies will you use to communicate your messages?
How can you work with other groups to strengthen your message?
What has the eco-audit taught you about leadership and citizenship?

MODULE OVERVIEW: Estimated total time needed: 10 class periods

This module contains the following lessons:

Lesson 1: Eco-Action: School Water Eco-Audit: Exploring (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
This lesson begins with an introduction to green schools and a discussion about the benefits of a campus water audit. Then students investigate how water is used inside and outside the school. They document appliances and fixtures that supply water on campus, as well as the types of groundcover on the school grounds. They also collect information from school water bills and begin formulating questions and thinking about possible improvements for campus water management.

Lesson 2: Eco-Action: School Water Eco-Audit: Analyzing (Estimated time needed: Two 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students use the data they gathered in Lesson 1 to note trends in the way water is used on campus. They do research and interview campus personnel to find answers to questions and address gaps in their data. Then they analyze the data they’ve gathered, reflect on its importance, and begin considering ideas for improving water use on campus.

Lesson 3: Eco-Action: School Water Eco-Audit: Wrapping Up (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students synthesize their data and ideas from Lesson 2. They share their results with the class and evaluate the effectiveness of the eco-audit. Students then strategize as a class and in small groups to plan how to recommend progressive changes to more effectively manage water resources on campus.

Lesson 4: Eco-Action: Water Data Is Beautiful! (Estimated time needed: Three 55-minute class periods)
In this lesson, students learn how to communicate their campus water management recommendations to administrators, the student body, and beyond. They learn strategies for presenting data in interesting, relevant, and visually appealing ways, such as through infographics. Then students take the information they collected and analyzed in Lessons 1–3 and create a plan for communicating their recommendations to campus administrators, parents, students, and others. Finally, students execute their plans by writing letters to administrators, creating a showcase presentation of their findings, writing and performing public service announcements, and implementing concrete student action plans.