Interact with, explore and learn about water

It is important to improve the knowledge and understanding primary and secondary students have about water supply and management issues so they can participate in the important quality and supply decisions facing Australia's communities. Martin Stone takes us through some educational resources that explore this vital natural resource.

Water Works (website)

Water Works is an exciting new educational program that provides learning experiences consistent with the demands of curricula. It also supports Global Perspectives, a statement on global education for Australian schools, and the Australian Government's new statement for schools, Educating for a Sustainable Future.

What's it all about?

This program is designed to help students interact with, explore and learn about how water is utilised and managed in urban communities.

Water is the most precious resource for any civilisation, and water management is the basis of all communal living. As history has shown, communities must develop sustainable practices for managing their water resources if they are to survive in the long term.

Water Works has been designed to assist students at levels 4 and 5 to achieve the following learning outcomes:

  • Clarify their ideas about water as an urban resource and the impact that it can have on people's health and on the natural environment.
  • Identify, compare and appraise the different methods of providing a water supply, a sewerage system, a stormwater system and the recycling of wastewater in an urban area.
  • Draw conclusions about the most appropriate ways of managing water in an urban area.
  • Apply their knowledge and understanding about the management of water to design a water supply system for an urban settlement.
  • Evaluate that design against best practice.
  • Brainstorm investigable questions about water usage and develop research strategies that will help answer them.
  • Reflect on their water usage and the implications of personal decisions on the urban water cycle.

Water Works is a highly flexible program that can be used at different levels in different ways. The material provided is focused on building breadth and depth of learning as a result of students taking more responsibility for their learning.

Suggested activities and research ideas

Activities and suggestions are provided in the Teachers Guide about how you can use this program with your students, including a range of 'off-line' activities and suggestions for further investigations.

This program is designed for students to learn about how water is utilised and managed in urban communities.

There are two pathways through the program.

  • Students can explore how Melbourne uses its water by selecting Melbourne's Water Story on the introductory screen. This pathway enables them to explore Melbourne's water supply, storm water and sewage treatment systems.
  • The second pathway provides a challenge for students to plan a total water system for a town. This includes designing the water supply, storm water and sewage treatment systems. To start this challenge, select Water Works Game on the introductory screen.

Water Works confronts students and engages them with a range of issues and ideas within the area broadly termed environmental sustainability. This means that it has a twofold purpose, for environmental sustainability is not only an important concept in itself, but it is one of the key ways of building relevant and purposeful educational experiences for students.

Water Works is a highly flexible program that can be used in different ways depending on the experience, maturity and temperament of your students.

Some of the questions you may need to consider when considering how to use this program include:

  • Where can I use Water Works in my class program?
  • What outcomes do I want students to achieve?
  • What aspects of Water Works could I use?
  • How much do my students already know about water and environmental sustainability?
  • How independent are they as learners?
  • How much structure will I need to provide for them to successfully complete the program?
  • How am I going to assess them?

Water Works is about students researching, thinking, learning and problem solving as independent learners.

Water Works [interactive]
Melbourne: Melbourne Water, [2005-] - secondary - water supply
SCIS No: 1262439

The Floods Explorer (website)

It's not only water supply and sewage treatment that are important water issues for the community.

The Floods Explorer program is a student-friendly computer-based interactive for middle and upper primary and lower secondary school students.

It aims to support teachers in developing programs associated not only with the topic of floods, but any with unit associated with any aspect of water.

The Teachers Notes are designed to provide classroom teachers with a selection of approaches to encourage students to work collaboratively with their peers in getting the most out of the Floods Explorer.

Focus Questions

  • What is a flood?
  • What natural and human factors cause flooding?
  • Where and how often do floods occur in Australia?
  • What impact does flooding have on people and the environment?
  • How is flooding managed?

Students will be able to:

  • demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of flooding
  • demonstrate in sequential steps an understanding of the flood cycle
  • demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the factors that cause flooding
  • collaboratively develop a presentation that highlights the impact of flooding and outlines how flooding may be managed.

Floods explorer [website].
Melbourne: Melbourne Water, 2004
SCIS No: 1232912

Water water everywhere (book)

Water-related issues have been increasingly in the consciousness of the general population in recent years. In both rural and urban areas it is the reduction of this precious resource - due to many years of sustained drought - that has often brought this to the fore.

Increased urbanisation, causing pressure on urban stormwater systems, coupled with the environmental, economic and social effects of recent large flood events have also created discussion and debate about the responsibility of governments, councils, developers and individuals in reducing the effects of these events.

Water water everywhere focuses on the nature and causes of flooding, its impact on people and the environment, and on the effects of living in flood plains and highly urbanised areas when a major flood event occurs. This new edition provides the opportunity to include updated information and data about recent flood events, and, more importantly, outlines the different responsibilities and strategies used to manage stormwater.

Water water everywhere
Author: Judy Mraz
Revised edition commissioned by Melbourne Water
Published by Curriculum Corporation for the Geography Teachers' Association of victoria (GTAv), 2006
ISBN: 1 86366 606 0
SCIS No: 1234002

Martin Stone
Executive Producer
Multimedia Curriculum Corporation