I'm feeling rage about the Flint Water Crisis right now and I already know if I was still a classroom teacher, I'd be all over Google trying to find a way to make sure my students were knowledgeable on the subject.
Because I am no longer in classroom, I'm going to use the time I have this evening to create a teaching resource for those of you are using this time to grade papers, lesson plan, breathe, etc. Sorry Season Six of Parenthood on Netflix, you don't get my tears tonight. I'm writing this more quickly than usual to get it to any of my friends who would like to use it-- apologies for not teaching it first before throwing it out there. If you use it, please let me know how it goes! Feel free to change it up... you won't hurt my feelings. I suppose you can use this in classrooms outside of Michigan too!
This is a problem posing lesson. It is meant for you to start a discussion with students on this important topic in one-two class periods. Ideally, it will result in action, which looks different to every teacher. For me, it's some kind of service learning project or letter writing campaign, for others it might be a media piece, or further research.
Grade Level: Middle and High School
Time Frame: 60-90 minutes
1. Water and You: Introduce the Lesson
- In groups, ask students to list every way they use water each day where the water comes into contact with their bodies. One student can record in the group.
- Tell the students they are all part of a family and today, the family has to decide how they want to use the water because they do not have unlimited water. They can only choose two ways. Give groups time to circle the two choices from their original list.
- Give groups time to share out on their choices and why they chose them.
- I know I can take a shower or bath every day in clean water.
- The water at my house has never made me sick.
- I can drink the water from my faucet.
- Elderly people, small children, and people with compromised immune systems can drink the water from my faucet.
- My siblings and I don't have to get our blood tested after ingesting the water from my faucet.
2. How Did Flint Get Here?
- Students will put the pieces of a timeline based on this MLive slide show--How the Flint Water Crisis Emerged-- into chronological order. It details the account of how our state got to where we are today from 2014-2015. Click here for an easier way to print cards of the timeline.
- These cards can be sorted as a full class, with each student receiving a card and then reading them off when they are in order. You can also make several sets of the cards and the sorting can be done in groups.
Discuss (as a class or in groups):
- What are some of the key points that stuck out to you from this timeline?
- How did you feel about some of the situations on the timeline?
- What do these issues mean for Flint? Our State?
- What actions or ideas has this issue triggered for you?
3. Now What?
The timeline only goes up to October 15th. If technology is available, conduct a Google search with students about what is happening now. If cell phones can be used in the classroom, ask students to conduct a Google search on the topic (individually or in pairs) and report out on what is catching their eye from their news search. If technology isn't available, print a variety of articles for students to explore. There are SO MANY right now. Have students report out on what is catching their eye from the articles.
4. Take Action
I'm going to leave this one in your wise and knowledgeable hands, teacher friend. As I said at the beginning of this post, I always go the service learning or PBL route, which can take too much time if you've got a curriculum you've got to stick to. Here is a planning template I've always liked. Maybe taking action isn't appropriate for you at this time and you just wanted your students to know about what's happening. It's coo. Let me know if you do something bigger.