The Water Project Overview (2nd grade)

The Water Project, an arts integration project across the curriculum with Montalvo Arts Center at Village Elementary, 2nd grade

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This project was implemented for the first time at Village Elementary . I created the ensemble of exercises and submitted it to the 2nd grade teachers Elizabeth Shepherd and Chris Woods. They worked in their classroom with their students so that when I was coming [once a week during 10 weeks] the students were already introduced to the different subjects and made some research about them.

In the context of the severe drought that California is going through this 10 session project proposes to study different aspects of water and to sensitize students to the importance of water in many aspects of their lives. During the ten weeks, students learn about water through Science, Social Science and Language Arts with their teachers. They learn about the water cycle, the weather, especially clouds, make inquiry charts, read poems, engage in reading (for example The Important Book about Water) and have class discussions about drought and water conservation.  The students are able to define groundwater and surface water and recognize examples of each, understand where their water comes from, and make their own water wells.

In the arts integration program the students use different techniques like drawing, watercolor, digital exploration, video, writing, and construction. They use an array of tools and materials, like oil pastels, iPads, watercolor inks, soil, pebbles, sand, and recycled plastic containers. The students work individually on some of the exercises, such as the watercolors, and collaborate on others, like when they build the Plastic Monster.

During the first session, Anthony Ortega (West Valley Clean Water Program) presents the concept of a watershed and how our actions/ choices can impact our environment, both positively and negatively.  Then I introduce the ten-session projects with a short presentation, without revealing the different exercises along the journey on which we are about to embark.

 

MAKING A POSTER-FLYER WITH AN IPAD: UNDERSTANDING THE WATERSHED
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Where does our water come from? and where does it goes? The students use the information they learned about preventing water pollution and conserving water to make their own poster using a poster app on their iPads.
Post about this exercise here.

The other five other topics in this curriculum are:

 

WATERCOLORS FROM THE BAY AREA: UNDERSTANDING THE VARIETY OF OUR WATERSCAPESwater_project_waterscapes_small

Each student studies/observes a different photograph of a waterscape:  Pacific coast, creeks, delta, bay, wetlands. In the end, the class has a discussion about the diversity of the waterscapes and their features. For this exercise we use a traditional technique.
Post about this exercise here.

 

DATA VISUALIZATION: UNDERSTANDING OUR WATER CONSUMPTIONwater_project_data_visualization_01_smallwater_project_data_visualization_02_small

The majority of the water we use is hidden is what we eat. How Much water do we really use daily? When do we use water the most? The students will work in group to create data visualization to understand the different amounts of water needed to grow/produce different food.  In this exercise, the students use graphic design basics to represent data.
Post about this exercise here.

 

THE PLASTIC MONSTER: UNDERSTANDING THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR PLASTIC CONSUMPTION/MAKING A COLLECTIVE SCULPTURE AS AN ART STATEMENT

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The plastic pollution in the oceans is extremely important and is a growing problem for many marine species. We need to reduce our plastic consumption and to better recycle. The students gathered the plastic containers they used at home. With all the containers, they are creating a Plastic Monster. The students work in groups, they have to engineer the monster, think about ways to attach the containers together. In the end the groups attach the different parts together.

 

MAKING A TERRARIUM: UNDERSTANDING THE WATER CYCLE

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Each student build her/his own terrarium in a one gallon glass jar with gravel, charcoal, soil and small house plants and creates a composition with plants, rocks and small pieces of wood. The terrarium is almost closed (the lid is not tightened), it needs to be watered once when it is built, then the plants create its own water cycle. Technique: mini-landscaping, eco-art.

 

WRAPPING UP: WHAT IS YOUR THOUGHT FOR THE FUTURE OF WATER : UNDERSTANDING THAT WATER IS INTERCONNECTED WITH EVERYTHING
This exercise concludes our project about water. Students can work individually or in group, they chose the subject they want to talk about and create a short video, with text and sound. After weeks on working on water, they decide the important message they want to convey to their fellow students, parents and beyond. This exercise can be shared on online platforms like WATERWHEEL and on websites specialized on water-related topics. It engages students as young citizens and empowers them to start thinking now about the future of their planet. This exercise uses video as an art form, where students can experiment with images and sound.

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