Young Children as Advocates
Dana Bentley, Beginner North Teacher
Betty Chan, Beginner North Teacher
What do we know?
Today in BNorth we began to delve deeper into our knowledge about water, and the need for water in the world. We began this discussion by sharing our knowledge, framing our discussion around the questions:
Who has water?
Who does not have water?
We began by focusing on our knowledge about the water in our lives:
Jace: I have water. I get them from the pipes.
Joe: I got the water from the pipes.
Christopher: You get water from pipes.
Eleanor: I use the water for boiling and sometimes to drink.
Thomas: I get water from the pipes.
Charlie: Sometimes when I use water to cook when it gets hot it gets to steam and that’s one of the 3 stages. It has 2 more. I think they are …I remember ice but I don’t remember the other. Just regular water.
Rosemary: After steam it’s ice?
Charlie: Umm no. It bubbles when its boiling.
Shifting to the Global
We then refocused the conversation on the broader world, wondering:
Who does not have water?
Shreya: The Water Princess does not have water but I have water and I get water from the pipes and the pipes are in the sink and the sink sprays water in the cup for me to drink.
Rosemary: So you can’t drink water out of a lake because it’s not clean so it’s the people that work at the pipes they clean it out. They clean out the dirty things so you can drink and they put it in the pipes and it sends it to your house.
Sydney: I do not have water because I lost my water bottle and it’s at after care.
Rosemary: Everything needs water. Not like paper and other things but things that are nature and alive need water because water helps nature grow and water people drink.
Eleanor: Well animals that live in the ocean, they need water because they need to swim around or they can’t…
We thought about Eleanor’s comment and wondered,
Can we drink water from the ocean?
Rosemary: No, because it has salt in it.
Eleanor: Or it has chemicals.
Shreya: Animals and everyone needs water so they can shower and plants can grow and sea animals. We cant drink it from the ocean water because it might have germs. The animals might stick their tongues out and the water you get might be the water that touches the animals tongue.
Nyla: And you cant drink ocean water because the animals in the sea can pee in it and that’s why you have to wash it before you drink it.
Water Needs: A Story of Cape Town
We then shared some initial information about Cape Town. We shared that Cape Town is a real city, that has had very little rain in the past years. People need water, and they are running out. We explained that all of the people are only allowed to use a little bit of water every day. We learned that they will run out of water very soon, and that day is called Day Zero. After hearing a bit about Cape Town, we had some questions and comments:
Charlie: Are there big lakes there?
We wondered, Are there big lakes in that part of Africa?
Charlie: No because there is not lakes.
Rosemary: In the jungle there are lakes but they are dirty.
Planning for Action
At this point in the conversation, the children naturally turned to solutions they could provide. They shared their ideas, as well as some concerns they had.
Shreya: You could give them (people in Cape Town) some water since we already have our own sinks we can give them some of our water.
Christopher: But then we’ll waste some of ours.
Rosemary: But we have tons of water and maybe some snow.
Christopher: What if it runs out?
Thomas: Can they just go get some at the grocery store?
We thought about this and wondered, Do you think the stores in Cape Town have a lot of water?
Thomas: I think all the people already took all the water from the store. So, there could also be this shuttle. We could-every time we come in the school, just take a little bit of water. Then we could deliver the water to Africa. I saw these planes that are delivery planes that go all over the world. It has a mail symbol. We can go deliver the water as a field trip!
Eleanor: Somebody can tell everybody that lives in Cambridge to get a little it of water and send it. But we have to put those waters, one part to the other. After we can make a whole cup.
Offering More Information
With the children thinking critically about solutions to this issue, we wanted to offer a bit more information about work that is being done in Africa. We shared a bit more about Georgie Badeil (the Water Princess), and the wells that are being dug in schools. We looked at some images, and shared what we know about wells.
Bennett: You pump it and goes into the bucket and you take it back.
Christopher: You twist the thing and it goes down and goes in.
Rosemary: It comes from the lake.
Tom: I saw this before in a book. The well was so deep you need a bucket and you need a rope to pull, pull, pull.
Shreya: If Africa is so hot, why don’t they have water?
Jace: If water was so hot it dries.
Charlie: It’s so sandy and hot so the water evaporates.
Rosemary: Maybe a long time ago they had a lot and now they don’t.
We have brought in some new texts as resources for better understanding water, and will be exploring some of the outreach projects that are a part of the book The Water Princess. We have also connected with the fifth graders, who are also exploring this issue from different lenses. They will be joining us to share some of their knowledge and experience. We are excited to see where this work will lead us!