Have you heard the saying “Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink”? This phrase comes from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a story about a ship lost at sea long ago. Today, it can apply to many parts of our planet, too. Humans use (and waste) a lot of water. As challenges with water increase, it has become more important than ever to learn about the water cycle and how to take care of the world's interconnected water systems.
Lucky for us, Nova Scotia students learn about environmental sustainability and the water environment in both Science and Social Studies in grade two. Teachers in Nova Scotia have access to one of the five Green Schools Nova Scotia Engagement Officers who can join classrooms using a virtual visit through Google Hangouts and present on our program pillar: Using Water Responsibly. Virtual visits like these are fun and easy to set up! We can offer positive learning experiences while having a smaller ecological footprint because we can visit schools without driving, and connect from our home offices across the province!
For a taste of what to expect from a virtual visit, check out our water-related slideshows; there is a version for grade two students and version for students in grades six to eight. A virtual visit means we host an interactive video class to explore a concept such as the water cycle. During a virtual visit, Engagement Officers from Green Schools NS collaborate with students to help everyone learn how to waste less. For example, what are the hidden ways water is used in our world today? Consider what choices you make that affect your water use: water is used to grow and to manufacture the foods we eat and produce clothing like cotton. What about the electricity used alongside that water? Heating, filtering, and pumping water are just some of the ways water use also uses energy. Explore ways to waste less energy while saving water, and calculate a water footprint. Students and teachers love to make a pledge to waste less at the end of a learning experience like a virtual visit!
Natalie has noticed that grade two students tend to be very excited about virtual presentations. They like seeing themselves on the screen and seeing Natalie calling from somewhere else in Nova Scotia. Students at virtual visits are attentive and keen to hear from Engagement Officers about ways to waste less. At the end of one presentation with Gaspereau Valley Elementary, a Water Footprint Test amazed students by demonstrating how much water it takes to produce our food. Then the class made their own Water Footprint Pledges. They traced their foot on a piece of paper and picked a key habit they committed to do to reduce their water use. They then decorated their unique footprints. Students really enjoyed learning all the ways they can reduce their water footprint. Gaspereau Valley students proudly displayed their Water Footprint Pledges during parent-teacher meetings.
Engagement Officer Natalie has been able to virtually visit many classrooms in the Valley and South Shore in the past few years. Actually, in 2017 alone, Natalie visited 33 classrooms using Google Hangouts instead of driving. That means she avoided driving approximately 1,150 km last year! Virtual visits are an important part of walking the talk of environmental education. We hope you join us!
~Natalie McMaster, Engagement Officer
If a classroom or green team wants to explore their school’s water use further we have three helpful support packages with step by step guides:
World Water Day
Water Bottle Refill Station
Check out these #WaterFootprint photos from Green Schools in Nova Scotia: