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The Water Education Foundation offers a variety of programs to teach our students, our future voters and leaders, about one of the most critical issues – water. The programs teach students about the history, geography and science of water. Students also learn about the difficult political and policy decisions surrounding this complex issue. Foundation programs are suitable for students in grades K-14. In addition, the Foundation serves as the California coordinator for national Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) K-12 program. 

All Foundation classroom materials are consistent with the standards of the California State Frameworks for Science and History/Social Science. The Foundation’s education director is available to conduct teacher training workshops in the use of our school programs. This service is free to those organizations that purchase 20 or more school programs. Teacher workshops can help your organization meet its Best Management Practices requirements. Contact Judy Maben for more information about such workshops.

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Elementary Programs

For grades 4-6, the Foundation’s California Water Story school program offers lessons that integrate many subject areas (geography, history, science, math and art) and are designed to help students develop specific skills (critical thinking, organizing data, predicting, mapping and graphing).

Complementing this program is the Fountains of Columbia. Designed for grades 4-6, this video/lesson plan package teaches students about the importance of water during California's Gold Rush. The interdisciplinary lesson plan booklet, correlated with the new state frameworks for History/Social Science, Language Arts and Sciences, features hands-on activities involving world timelines, erosion experiments and primary source readings, including Mark Twain's "Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."

Children ages 5-13 can learn about the relationship between wise water management and other issues such as waste, energy, air and biodiversity through Ollie Saves the Planet , an interactive CD ROM program. The CD ROM contains an extensive educator section that shows teachers how to use the program within the classroom environment across a range of subjects.  It also contains hours of stimulating and fun activities that children can explore to understand the overarching issue of sustainability.

Upper elementary students can learn how water is recycled and reused in Give Water a Second Chance – Recycle It. Prepared in cooperation with the WateReuse Association California Section, the five student activities include a decoding game about the parts of the water re-cycle, mazes through a wastewater treatment plant, on-line explorations of wastewater microbe life cycles, activities to identify uses for treated wastewater and an experiment about salts dissolved in water and the challenges for water recycling. View the Give Water a Second Chance … Recycle It! booklet now available.

Teachers download the Teachers Guide Recycled Water Booklet which contains usage directions.

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Secondary Programs

For grades 7-12, the Foundation’s general science program, Project Water Science, offers lessons for the study of water chemistry and how water relates to the environment. The 38-page lesson plan book includes 14 laboratory exercises suitable for junior high and high school science classes in physical or earth sciences, or integrated science. Bound inside the book and suitable for photocopy reproduction is the No-Know Game, a fun way for students to learn about nonpoint source pollution

A plastic-mounted version of the No-Know Game is available separately. This board game teaches children – and adults – about the source of their drinking water, what pollutants water may encounter as it moves through the watershed, and how to avoid contributing to nonpoint source pollution.

Students in grades 7-10 can learn about the relationship between groundwater and surface water with the Foundation’s Groundwater Education for Secondary Students program. This program includes laboratory exercises, lectures and assessment activities that focus on the prevention, reduction and elimination of groundwater pollution. The program is coordinated with the California State Department of Education’s Frameworks for Science, Math and Social Science.

For grades 8-12, the MTBE Risks and Issues: Setting Taste and Odor Drinking Water Standards program teaches students about MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether, in drinking water. Officials are now in the process of phasing out use of the gasoline additive MTBE, which helps help fuel burn cleaner, because it has contaminated groundwater wells throughout the country. Students learn about MTBE as a drinking water contaminant through discussions about the physiology of taste and odor, how taste tests are conducted, how drinking water standards are set and the role of science in public policy.

The four role playing scenarios in the Foundation’s California’s Water Problems program are designed to give students in grades 9-14 firsthand experience at working out a solution to a real-life problems. The cooperative learning exercises give students the opportunity to improve research techniques, practice group interaction skills, and sharpen their reasoning abilities. The unit is ideal for a social science class studying management of natural resources or a science class studying the interaction of humans and the environment.

Complementing this program is a 25-minute video, H20-2010, in which students travel back to the future and learn about the possible future consequences of decisions made today. The program is designed to get teenagers thinking about the issues that revolve around water and its agricultural, urban and environmental uses in California. The video is packaged with a 16-page teacher's guide.

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College Programs

For college students, the Foundation’s California’s Water Problems program provides the opportunity for in-depth examination of four specific water issues: the Delta dilemma, the Kesterson clean-up, the Colorado River cutback and groundwater worries. Here, students are assigned different roles and asked to do outside research by answering a number of questions. They then report back to the class and the group assigned that issue then tries to resolve the dilemmas with a consensus-based solution. The cooperative learning exercises give students the opportunity to improve research techniques, practice group interaction skills, and sharpen their reasoning abilities. The unit is ideal for a social science class studying management of natural resources or a science class studying the interaction of humans and the environment.

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