|Nina with Grade 8 class talk about water|
I had about half an hour to prime them with something that would spark their interest and which they could take home and think about—and possibly apply in stewardship.
We briefly reviewed some of water’s most interesting anomalous and life-giving properties such as cohesion and adhesion—responsible for surface tension and water’s capillary movement up trees. Below is an excellent 5-minute YouTube video “The Properties of Water” that describes these properties well.
I reviewed the circle of life and energy in an aquatic ecosystem and used the grey whale as an example to study trophic cascades and the balanced trophic cycle—with an endnote on the whale’s significant role in influencing climate.
I introduced each class to the incredible and very tiny Tardigrade, also known as the water bear or moss piglet, with magical properties of its own. The 4-minute TED video by Thomas Boothby is particularly instructive and entertaining.
|Three Gorges Dam|
Water needs to constantly move. The Water cycle moves through the planet in all three forms (vapour, liquid and ice), over land and sea and through the earth, but also through all life. We are part of that cycle. We drink it and get immersed in it; we also breathe water in with every breath we take and breathe it out with every breath we exhale.
I invited the class to discuss things we could do to help water as it moves through the planet. We talked about things we could do at home, with our friends, in our school and community to help water. Things like planting a tree in your back yard; adopting a nearby stream and taking care of it; organizing a beach clean-up; deciding to do something at home to waste water less.We are water; what we do to water, we do to ourselves.
Alene kindly sent me an image of the billboard she created at the Mississauga Valley Library with the Valleys Senior Public School students responses to the question: "What can we do to help water?"
|Valleys Senior School students response to water question|
You can read so much more about water in my book “Water Is…”. Go see what people are saying about “Water Is…”
Nina Munteanu is an ecologist, limnologist and internationally published author of award-nominated speculative novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is co-editor of Europa SF and currently teaches writing courses at George Brown College and the University of Toronto. Visit www.ninamunteanu.ca for the latest on her books.