We, Water and the planet

1) Introduction

‘We, Water And The Planet’ was a Cross- Curricular social action project that enabled Grade 8
students to be engaged in exploration, research, inquiry, sustainability and
stewardship with a focus on water in their local and global community. The highlight
of the year-long unit was that it was a student led investigation, invention and
innovation experience.
LASS (Language Arts and Social Studies) and MST (Math, Science and Technology) teachers
partnered to work in a co-teaching environment at a school, where students from both classes
seamlessly accessed learning opportunities and resources in both rooms. A number of
community partnerships enriched our learning experiences from minds on, to resources to
opportunities beyond the classroom.

2) Partnerships In Action


3) Our Journey

It was almost a year long journey that moved from being the learning focus to something that was happening parallel to everything else in the classroom. The student engagement and interest was the drive behind our journey. The several partners that served as resources, as support to our inquiries, as mentors to our projects, were invaluable in our learning journey. A snap shot of our journey is attached. Every stage was important for us to consolidate our learning, make connections and build our knowledge. They chose to take action along our journey. A snap shot of our journey is attached. 

In addition to the learning there were several accomplishments for students. Some of which are:

- It ended with the students starting an Interact Club, which is a Rotary sponsored club where students are interacting and thinking critically about the world around them and commiting themselves to "Service Above Self".

- Students invented real products that have been shared at an Invention Convention in The Innovation Centre, University of Toronto, Mississauga Campus

- Students developed partnerships (with NGOs, Subject experts from High School Departments, Universities and Corporate Field)  who offered to mentor them along through their journey in class and beyond. 

- The group that invented Bio-degradable Plastic shared their invention in a larger forum with educators, policy makers and corporate sector, including the education minister

- Students planned and excuted Social Action at several points through our journey

- Students started a Community Interact Club and have committed themselves to staying together past grade 8 for "Service Above Self" 

the whole journey was non-typical and an enriching experience both for students and teachers.

Students monitored their learning as they moved along with the help of chek lists, co-constructed success criteria and learning maps. (See attached).

Curricular Connections and sample Assessment Criteria are also attached. 

4. Inquiry Focus /Big Ideas/Key Skills

Inquiry Focus/Big Ideas:

  • Environment- Local and Global
  • Access to Basic Human Rights
  • Impact
  • Interrelationships
  • Sustainability
  • Technologies & Innovations
  • Water & Water Quality

Key Questions:

  • How do human attitudes and activities impact the environment?
  • What does it mean by Water as a Natural Resource and Water as a basic human right?
  • What is sustainability? 
  • What is our role as responsible global citizens of the planet?
  • How is technology causing problems and how can it be used to solve some of those problems?

Key Skills:

  • Inquiry, Experimentation and Safety
  • Innovation
  • Learning Skills
  • Global Citizenship
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • 21st century skills (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication)
  • Modern Learning skills (Problem Solving, Learning how to learn)

5. Time line

What was seen as learning opportunities for the first term ended in being a whole year journey based on student interest and engagement. We had core blocks in the time table dedicated to this project, while working on other big ideas and expectations from different strands and subject areas.


6. Challenges

  • Shortage of time
  • Delayed response or no response from Community Partners and mentors
  • Team members not keeping up with time commitments
  • Management of resources/work in progress while classes on rotary
  • Not able to find resources or answers to certain questions
  • Access to Technology
  • Over indulgence in Inquiry leading to neglecting focus on other subject areas