If our planet is going to solve water issues, learning about water problems and creating solutions is essential for EVERYONE. In order to inspire and inform student-driven solutions, seven rural schools and the STEM School Highlands Ranch worked together with subject matter experts.
Our first expert was John Fulton from the USGS. Mr. Fulton set the stage as he shared what he does, and what our students can explore to better understand current problems and solutions. The students then had the chance to ask questions in order to find the intersection of their interests with Mr. Fulton’s work.
We learned about water rights and the challenges faced in Direct Flow (surface), Storage, Underground (wells), Instream Flow, and Recreational In-Channel issues.
Nationally recognized science educator Anne Tweed led the QUEST.
QUEST - https://captainplanetfoundation.org/ Empowering Next Generation Changemakers!, Laura Arndt, Global GreenSTEM
Students were divided into four groups, each containing students from different schools, mentors, and facilitating teachers.
- Water Usage (scarcity, rights, technology, purification)
- Fish and Wildlife
- Climate Change (drought, wildfire, natural disaster)
The majority of the work was done between the virtual meetings by students; facilitated by their teachers, inspired and informed by the mentors.
The power of mentorship became the driving force to inspire and inform this student-driven, teacher-facilitated QUEST.
Using breakout rooms, the students, teachers, and mentors designed their final presentation using the following:
Proposal for Action
- How did this inspire you?
- What are the next steps in your process?
- Where can you go from here?
- How can you apply the skills you learned in this collaboration?
Reflection of the Process
- What new skills did you learn/improve?
- What would you do differently?
- What recommendations do you have for other students? Teachers?
- How did it feel to reach out to someone you didn’t know?
What Did You Learn?
- What did you learn from collaborating with people from across the state?
- What was your learning outcome?
- What mentors did you reach out to, and what did you learn from them?
In 8B science this year we collaborated on a website and podcast about water. We applied the 8th grade physics standards to water and the production and distribution of our podcast. Students generated their own questions and interviewed industry leaders and community partners to find their answers. Within the website you will find artwork, writing, and the finished podcast. Please listen and share with the world!
I have never done a project quite like this with so many moving and collaborative parts. I am very proud of the work each student contributed to the final product- my heart could almost explode!
Brittany Lang ,Montezuma-Cortez Middle School Gifted and Talented Coordinator/Science Teacher
Please enjoy this wonderful introduction from facilitating teacher, Brittany Lang. Montezuma-Cortez Middle School, Gifted and Talented Coordinator, Science Teacher.