Geography: Understanding Relationships between Humans and Water Resources

Title: Understanding the Relationships between Humans and Water Resources: A Lesson Study for Introductory Geography Classes
Discipline(s) or Field(s): Geography, Environmental Studies, Water Resources, Social and Natural Sciences
Authors: John Ward, Joy Wolf, Richard Walasek, J. Scott Spiker, Melissa Gray, University of Wisconsin—Parkside
Submission Date: February 23, 2009

Executive Summary

Learning Goals: Students will gain a deeper understanding of water resource issues, the importance of conservation, and the impact of individual actions on this global issue. This lesson study will provide students an opportunity to engage in critical thinking and the knowledge of daily water conservation practices that they can incorporate into their lives toward the cumulative effort of long-term resource conservation. .

Instructional Design: At the beginning of the class period, the students were given an overview of water resources and the geographic relationship between water and human uses of water. This presentation was followed by an online demonstration of an interactive exercise in which the class as a whole participated. This activity gave the students a way to quantify individual water usage in the domestic setting, as well as n overview of cumulative water consumption habits. Students then engaged in small groups to discuss innovative water conservation methods. Each group was required to summarize their results as well as write short responses to specific questions about individual water conservation.

Major Findings: Students gained an appreciation for the relationship between local action and global consequences, an awareness of their individual domestic water consumption, and an understanding of conservation actions in which they can use in their daily lives. After reading their responses, it appeared that the students took from the lesson an intention to reduce their water consumption by (1) reducing the time engaged in certain activities and (2) investigating technological solutions for water conservation.

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