Water in India and Kentucky: Developing an Online Curriculum with Field Experiences for High School Classes in Diverse Settings
Author: Carol Hanley, Rebecca L. Freeman, Alan E. Fryar, Amanda R. Sherman, and Esther Edwards,
Maintaining access to sufficient amounts of clean water for human and environmental needs is a global challenge requiring education and community engagement. We developed a curriculum integrating field experiences with online modules focusing on the water cycle, water quality, and human impacts. This year-long curriculum connected nine public high schools in Kentucky with ten private, English-language schools in eastern India. Curriculum design was informed by the Next Generation Science Standards (the new U.S. education standards for science) and utilized freely available, open-access technology. Each instructional module included a narrated slideshow with general information and examples from Kentucky and India, exercises involving online data sets, and guidelines for class projects. Students developed creative products (e.g., posters and dramatic performances) for community outreach on water issues. Class projects involved literature reviews of local water bodies, collection of data using water-quality test kits, and submission of a research proposal, which was evaluated by scientific professionals with a background in hydrology. The highest-rated team from each country traveled to the other country to present their findings at a professional meeting or workshop. Eight of the Indian schools prepared video summaries of their projects, which were reviewed by an undergraduate class at the University of Kentucky. The curriculum and examples of student work are available on a publicly accessible website. Challenges faced during project implementation included difficulty in assessment of student products and, particularly for Kentucky schools, integrating activities into existing curricula. Nonetheless, the proposals, final papers, and other products indicated that students understood hydrologic concepts and were aware of water-quality issues.
1231 Lincoln Drive, Mail Code 4526
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, IL 62901
UCOWR is grateful for the ongoing support from Southern Illinois University Carbondale!