Late in October, I had the pleasure of visiting two 5th grade classes at the Riverdale Elementary School in Dedham, to present our Water Conservation Program. We reviewed groundwater and surface water; Dedham’s drinking water infrastructure; daily water use and conservation; and wastewater systems, stormwater pollution and protection of waterways. The following day, the science teacher, Ms. Costello, reviewed the information with both classes, and their group discussion led to a few additional assignments.
To begin, the students were very interested in the topic of bottled water vs. tap water, and engaged in a “blind” water taste test to see which “source” they preferred. The resulting test data showed that out of the three samples of water provided, first place went to Roche Bros bottled water, close behind in second place (by one vote) went to tap water, and third place went to Poland Springs, getting just 1 vote. Noting that there wasn’t much of a taste difference in bottled vs. tap, and understanding the negative impact of bottled water on water resources and the environment, many students recommitted to using refillable water bottles whenever possible.
Students then pledged to further conserve water by investigating two ways (out of 12 suggestions) in which they could change their behavior. They also took home an assignment to administer a true or false quiz to an adult at home, and graded their family members on the results. (All 10 statements on the quiz were true, such as “Only 1% of fresh water on Earth is available for drinking water.”) The teacher reported that the students were excited to be the one to grade the adult and report the data, as well as ensure that the adults did not use a “resource aide” like their phone or computer to look up facts.
Thanks to Ms. Costello, the students were able to invest additional time on the subject of water conservation, and truly commit to making a difference. Hopefully, their families learned an important lesson or two as well!
For more information on the Neponset River Watershed Association’s School Program, please click here: www.neponset.org/projects/school-programs
Nancy Fyler, Outreach Director, November 2015