Collaborate, Compare, Connect

Across your district, Your Watershed, Your world

Science as a practice relies on individuals observing patterns in the world around them and developing explanations for those patterns. Additionally, science allows individuals to use those observable patterns to predict an outcome in another location. By connecting with other teachers through this curriculum, students are able to make predictions and explanations of water and energy use across the globe based on their own personal data. This could be especially powerful when looking at different neighborhoods in a given city! Sometimes I think we think of exposure for students is all about covering vast distances and building connections there. However, it could be even more powerful when utilized to connect/expose students to the water situation in their own city.
— Megan Otero, teacher and STEMhero co-founder

Request a partner classroom:


Ideas for collaboration

1) Have students calculate and compare across schools the class averages of water and / or energy use.

Rationale: It is likely that students will see differences between water and / or energy consumption trends across the classes. Students can use their real data to first determine if a disparity exists, then work together to identify and investigate likely causes of such disparities. Such variables to explore might be temperature, precipitation, use of certain appliances, different water use practices, age of homes...


2) Provide feedback to each other on students' experimental design and / or interpretation of their experiment results. 

Rationale: Scientists and engineers depend on the process of peer review to ensure research is as strong as possible before it is published. Moreover, students will gain ideas for efficiency experiments that can run at their own home and school from the experiments that others have implemented.

Procedure: Students turn in their experimental design plans and / or results to their teacher to be shared with another class for feedback. In what ways is the experimental design strong? How can it be improved to add more validity to its results (example response: The results should be combined with the results from another student doing the same experiment to see if the results conflict or support each other). 


3) Have students describe to each other the unique water and / or energy context of their community. What are challenges the community faces? How has water shaped life in their community and family?

Rationale: Nearly every community has a distinct water and / or energy context. That unique context is most interesting and apparent when contrasted against the context of another location. Where does your drinking water come from? What is notable about the engineering and science that goes into treating and delivering water to your area? Did and does water affect how your community has and is growing where it is? 

Procedure: Use the utility website to learn about the source(s) of water and / or energy for your area. Have individuals answer these questions, then combine answers or have someone present their answer to the other class. Have the other class take notes with an eye towards comparing and contrasting their water contexts.