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Save Our Water

School: Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School

City/State: Washington, DC

Grade(s): 3

Format(s): Bilingual, Postcard

Subject(s): Social Studies, Visual Arts

Project Overview: 

  • How does water connect our world (globally and locally)? ¿Cómo nos conecta el agua global y localmente?
  • How do humans and water impact each other? ¿Cuál es el impacto entre los seres humanos y el agua?
  • How do conservationists use evidence to strengthen their message? ¿Cómo los conservacionistas usan evidencia para fundamentar/fortalecer/apoyar su mensaje? 

 

Mundo Verde aims to foster high levels of academic achievement among a diverse group of students by preparing them to be successful and compassionate global stewards of their communities.

This expedition builds on students’ connectedness to the natural world and asks them to think about the interdependent relationship one has with natural systems. It pushes them to be conscious of their choices and take responsibility and action for their resulting effects. Through an immersive experience on water (including: fieldwork and expert collaboration with the Anacostia Watershed, river cleanup, raising shad fish eggs in a hatchery at school, performing water quality tests, researching the water cycle, reading and analyzing numerous anchor texts about water in English and Spanish) students come to see themselves, family, community, and surrounding green spaces as interdependent systems. A change in one part of the system has lasting effects on all other parts and systems. They learn ways in which the environment (water) provides life to plants, animals, and people while pondering how the choices made in our social and economic systems impact our water.

Students created bilingual informational postcards that feature a local water issue and a solution that can be applied immediately at home. Students learned about informational writing and transferred their skills to a real-world format that would share information with their community. Students researched and wrote their postcards in Spanish but recognized the need in their audience for access to English and wrote their own language translations. For the beautiful shad fish drawings, students developed multiple drafts, consulting a fish art expert and specific rubric. They wrote accompanying persuasive speeches in English class (not featured here), mastering opinion writing as well. Both the postcards and speeches were presented to the DC Water board on June 7, 2018, and local council members as well so that their proposed solutions could bring about real change in their community. In addition, the postcards were mailed to over 500 neighbors.

 

Education for Sustainability Enduring Understandings aligned to this expedition:

  • We are All in this Together
    • What will kids say?: Water, people, and animals are interdependent. If we work together to protect water, people, animals, and plants will be healthy.  
  • Healthy Systems Have Limits
    • What will kids say?: Only 1% of our water is drinkable. We need to save and protect it.
  • Recognize and Protect the Commons
    • What will kids say?: We should all have access to clean water and we are all responsible for making sure everyone has clean water.

How This Project Can Be Useful: 

  • An excellent example of a bilingual product that goes beyond simple translation
  • Product considers the needs of two different authentic audiences and addresses both of them
  • The final product is the result of multiple drafts and shows careful attention to detail

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