Water Ecology & Sustainability Team (WEST) Project

The WEST project creates an opportunity for ninth grade students to be active participants in their school’s ongoing study of and action on local and global water issues. Students will engage in the study of water issues from personal, local and world perspectives through a cross-cultural exchange with Kenyan students and an investigation of a local case study--the Duwamish river-- in order to understand systemic issues around water and ecological health.  Students will use systems thinking concepts to gain a systems view of clean water access, to understand how cultural values impact the way people interact with water, and to understand the various issues that impact access to clean water.  Students will use the knowledge, understanding, and skills gained to design a project in which they take action at a level of their choosing to address a problem in clean water access.

The WEST project will be integrated into the 2013 World Water Week festival at Chief Sealth International, which takes place March 18-22. Students will exhibit their final projects at a Water Symposium on the first day festival. In addition, six exemplary student teams will present their work in sessions at the World Water Week student conference on March 22nd.

What do we want Kids to know and be able to do?Skills / Global CompetenciesKnowledge
Collaboration(KU1)Water is part of a system: individuals (use & choices), infrastructure, politics/economics, industry/agriculture, ownership, geography/weather patterns, cultural values
CommunicationCross-cultural communication; data sharing
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving(KU2)Systems Thinking Concepts: What is a system?  Systems within systems.  Relationships between parts of a system.
(KU3)The issues that surround water: rights, usage, access, potability, social justice, health.
(KU1a)Students’ own place in the system.
Research/Investigation Data collection and analysis; interview techniques
Taking Action (KU4)Change can happen in a variety of ways and a variety of places in the system.

To keep materials organized for the eight 9th grade teachers, I created several Google Drive folders: