Water Resources Education Assessment - Graham County Attachments
Water Education Field Day
May 2, 2000
Fourth grade students from Lafe Nelson Elementary School in Safford were
invited to a water education field day. Approximately 240 students and
their teachers attended. Each class participated in 4 activities at the
Mt. Graham Golf Course and a nearby park.
The students learned where the water goes after it disappears down the
drain. An employee of the local water company gave a tour of the waste
water facilities at the golf course. Wastewater is pumped from the main
settling ponds to treatment ponds at the golf course. There treatment
is completed and the final product is used to irrigate the golf course
The groundwater flow model was set up and used to demonstrate the effects
of pollution on our water supply. Different colors of dye were added to
the model to show the movement of "pollution". They could also
see how pumping too much water can effect nearby lakes, streams and other
wells. We tied these ideas into discussions about how much water we have
(the same amount as when the earth began) and the age of water (as old
as the earth, just recycled over and over in the water cycle).
Each student learned how important water is to life. Each was instructed
to draw a picture of a person, estimate what portion of our bodies is
water and color in their picture. Most were amazed to find that they were
composed of 65-70% water. They were given an equation for figuring out
how many pounds of water each of them is composed of. An orange was used
to demonstrate how the water is contained within the cells of their body.
That's why they don't hear the water sloshing when they jump up and down!
They were told that most living organisms contain at least 50% water and
can only go for short periods of time without water.
The students also participated in an activity designed to illustrate
water movement over ground. Some were asked to act out the role of water
running down a slope. Other students acted out the role of vegetation
or other physical obstructions, such as rocks or fallen logs. The time
taken by the "water" to move down the slope without any obstructions
was compared to the time taken on a slope with vegetation and rocks. The
"vegetation" was unable to move around (they were "rooted")
but could reach out and tag the "water". The "water"
then had to circle the "vegetation" five times before continuing
down the slope. The "water" had to go around or jump over the
"rocks". The students learned that barren or cleared land allows
water to run off swiftly with little soaking in and allowing the soil
to wash away with it. Too much erosion causes loss of soil fertility and
the build up of sediments in lakes and streams, which can be harmful to
aquatic life. The addition of plants, rocks and berms can slow the water
movement, allowing it to soak in, and will hold the soil in place.
Water Education - Cotton Field Days
In conjunction with the annual 6th grade Cotton Field Days at the Safford
Agricultural Center we provided a session on water education for each
group. Approximately 600 students and teachers from Graham and Greenlee
In each session we stressed the importance of water to all forms of life.
Questions were asked to make the point. We talked about the age of water
and the quantity of drinking water available to us. Because of the limited
amount of water we have available and because we cannot make more, it
is imperative that we take care of the water we have. We used the groundwater
flow model to demonstrate how pollutants move through our groundwater
and can wind up in drinking water. We talked about all the kinds of things
that can pollute our water, from common chemicals around the house to
animals and factories. We wound up each session with a brainstorming session
on how to conserve water at home. Based on the questions asked by the
students and teachers they seem to have a good grasp of the points being
made and showed some good independent thinking. Students were sent home
with a Water Wise Yard Audit to take home and fill out with their parents.
The audit contains many useful facts and points out where water usage
outside the home could be decreased.
Some of the questions posed and discussed:
How long can a human go without food?
How long can a human go without water?
How much of the water that was here when the earth began do we still have
Who can explain the water cycle?
How much of the water on earth is drinkable?
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