Water, Water, (Challenges) Everywhere…
This month we look towards a Glocal (Global & local impact) challenge in society: water. Whether we look at issues with water pollution, access to drinkable water, using water as an energy source, or changing weather patterns; water is impacting us all. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) has declared the access to clean water a Grand Challenge for Engineering. The United Nations (UN) agrees, “Overcoming the crisis in water and sanitation is one of the greatest human development challenges of the early 21st century,” as a recent report warns.
About ONE out of every SIX people living today do not have adequate access to water, and more than double that number lack basic sanitation, for which water is needed. In some countries, half the population does not have access to safe drinking water. What does that have to do with your locality? As Americans, we don’t normally consider our impact when it comes to water.
- The average American uses 176 gallons of water per day compared to 5 gallons of water the average African family uses each day.
- It would take 2.5 billion gallons of clean water to support the 4.7 billion people globally each day at the UN daily minimum.
- 2.5 billion gallons of water are used daily to irrigate the world’s golf courses.
You can dig into the water crisis at the NAE and UN here:
STEMtistic of the Month:
By 2050 global demand for fresh water is projected to grow by more than 40% and at least 1/4 of the world’s population will live in countries with a “chronic or recurrent” lack of clean water.
Since 1947, 37 major conflicts have taken place between countries related to water.
This worldwide crisis is hitting home as well. Though water quality in America has improved, this is only because we only got serious about this issue in the 1970’s. With this in mind, it should shock you that nearly 77 million Americans lived in places where the water systems were in some violation of safety regulations. STEM-minded people are trying to raise awareness though…
- Water Bar: Water Bar works with people and organizations across the public, private and non-profit sectors to uncover and enhance the cultural value of water in our world. This artist-led group promotes water quality by literally serving and educating patrons about tap water from local and national cities.
- Reuters – Looking for Lead: Reuters conducted a nationwide analysis of childhood blood lead testing data at the neighborhood level. This map will allow you to see what the local prevalence of elevated lead tests has been in the 21 states where we obtained census tract or zip code level data. In many neighborhoods – census tracts or zip code areas – across the country, a far higher rate of children have tested higher than Flint in recent years.
Download the June 2017 STEMtistic Image
STEM Content Connection:
This month we are highlighting water conservation, advocacy, and education resources you can utilize in your classroom. Lesson plans, virtual field trips, and podcasts; we set out to share a few of the enumerate water resources we find valuable for all educators.
Discovery Education STEM Camp: Water
This dynamic series of standards-aligned curricula is available at no cost to schools, districts, non-profit organizations, and parents. Use as part of summer camps, after-school STEM programs or wherever support is needed.
Discover the amazing properties of water and our role in conserving the planet’s most valuable resource. The learning activities and digital resources contained within this online curriculum allow students to explore the concept of water over a five-day period. Get started today and ignite the STEM spark.
The US Geological Survey has an incredible library developed on water resources for educators and students. Media from their flyovers, lecture series, and basics on water ecosystems accompany k-12 science experiments, literature, and scientific research papers. Content for any grade level and subject area.
Environmental education (EE) is a multi-disciplinary approach to learning about environmental issues that enhances knowledge, builds critical thinking skills and helps students make informed and responsible decisions. They also have a great depth of print materials as well that are able to be ordered for free! Check out their National Service Center for Environmental Publications here: https://www.epa.gov/nscep
EPA: WaterSense for Kids
Exploring water challenges in their own home, students have the opportunity to make an impact in their own community. Do you know how much water a family of four uses every day in the United States? Not 50 gallons, not 100 gallons, but 400 gallons! Fortunately, there are many things we can share with students to help save water.
Stuff You Should Know: How Manufacturing Water Works
The United Nations has found that 22% of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking water. Could we fix the water shortage by manufacturing water? Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about manufacturing water.
Stuff You Should Know: Exactly what happens if we run out of water?
In 1995, World Bank vice president Ismail Serageldin declared that “the wars of the next century will be about water.” Check out our HowStuffWorks article to learn what happens once we run out of water.
Additional Regional Resources:
Southwest Florida Water Management District (FL): Water Podcasts
Water Use It Wisely (AZ): It All Starts with You
Water Education Foundation (CA): Water Kids
Discovery Education Resources:
K-12 Interdisciplinary Content Collection – Streaming PLUS
Start singing in the rain—because without water, there would be no life. Water makes up about 70 percent of Earth’s surface, and it is essential for all living organisms. As the world’s population continues to grow, water becomes an increasingly important resource, and many different water users—from large farms, to cities, to individual homeowners—want a share of the supply. As global weather changes, severe water events, like droughts and floods, become more common and can impact millions of people. Learn more about the ways water moves through the water cycle and the reasons it is so important for life.
Grades 6-8 Science Virtual Lab – Science Techbook
The local water company needs to find a different, emergency source of water for the town of Broad Bend. Where on the river should the water company build its new pumping station?
Challenge based K-12 resources, Discovery Education Blog & Professional Learning Community
“You can’t be what you can’t see.” This phrase has so many meanings in education, but it proves incredibly true when we discuss our student’s future careers. The days of “generic” careers have passed. Calling someone an engineer is equivalent to calling all medical workers “doctors or nurses”; there are an enumerate variety of career opportunities. Instead of just building towers out of marshmallows, these activities tie specific “high-interest” careers to challenges simulating the work of that career.
This month, we look at a career which uses creativity and critical thinking all the time as well as the design process, a Water Quality Specialist. Students are placed in a scenario where they have to think quickly and use household items to create a solution which has to work and be environmentally friendly.
Water Quality Specialist – Click here
Submit a STEM Career and Challenge important to your own local community for us to share with the Discovery Community! To submit your idea: STEM Career Submission
Extend Student Learning with Discovery Education Resources:
- Watch this video on an alternative to water quality testing methods: http://bit.ly/2qIXhNG
- Watch this STEM Career Close-up on a Water Quality Specialist: http://bit.ly/2snnF0A
Instructional strategies, Discovery Education Blog & Professional Learning Community
Building a STEM culture in schools or classrooms requires intentional strategies to engage students and elaborate instruction. STEM Strategies that work are proven strategies from Discovery Education Community members and STEM educators that incorporate STEM culture in meaningful, effective, and practical ways.
Join the DE STEM Team for our monthly STEM Chat! We facilitate rich conversation between our guest host and STEMthusiasts from all over! How do I participate in a #DESTEMChat? Click here