Activity time: 10 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Computer with Internet access and a large monitor or a digital projector
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
Preparation for Activity
- If you will use the Internet to lead the children in researching water issues in your area, scout websites in advance. You can start at the Environmental Protection Agency's website, which identifies local watersheds and provides links to more information. Just before the session, test equipment and Internet access.
- If Internet access will not be available, invite a guest speaker to discuss local water issues. You might approach a municipal official or someone who works with an environmental advocacy group.
Description of Activity
The first step in making change is to understand the situation you are hoping to affect. Participants learn about the source(s) of their local water and issues that may affect access to safe drinking water.
For efficiency, you may be the best person to type queries into the computer, or you may designate a participant to do it. The website of your local water company will probably have information on both the source(s) and the quality of your water supply, and is likely to have conservation tips as well. You can also search "[your community] water issues" or use the watershed locator on the EPA website. Have volunteers take turns reading aloud what you find. Invite suggestions for other search terms that might be helpful.
If it is difficult for everyone to see the screen, have participants trade locations every minute or two.
Record, or have a volunteer record, noteworthy information on newsprint.
After you have gathered information, invite participants to reflect:
- How much of what you found on line did you already know?
- Had you ever thought about how water gets to your tap?
- Does knowing where your water comes from (and where it goes after it is used) make any difference in how you use water?
Including All Participants
Remember that the participants may come from different communities with different water sources and different water problems. Try to be inclusive in the discussion.