Fourth-grade students in Sarah Martin, Nicole Bolluyt and Stacy Anderson’s classes at Ellen Hopkins Elementary School spent September learning about water and raising awareness of keeping our water supply clean.
According to Martin, the project addressed the Minnesota academic standard: Describe how the methods people utilize to obtain and use water in their homes and communities can affect water supply and quality.
A team of Hopkins fourth-grade teachers and River Keepers staff developed a partnership that combined service-learning and experience-based educational opportunities for the students.
To begin to learn about the river, Hopkins students visited the Living Lab, a River Keepers managed urban riparian restoration site in south Fargo. Students learned about the riparian zone, how we use water from the river for a variety of reasons from food source to recreation, and how water moves through the Earth system using the process of the water cycle. Finally, the students cleaned trails and picked up garbage as a service to River Keepers and to help keep our water supply clean.
In class, the students did hands-on water experiments highlighting the phases of the water cycle and how pollutants affect the water we use. Martin said they also discussed how they could help tell others in our community about the problem and help with a solution (marking the storm drains).
Students attended River Keepers’ 13th annual Red River Water Festival on Sept. 23, participating in hands-on activities related to the theme of water. On Sept. 30, the students helped mark storm drains. Afterwards they wrote about their experience.