A group of 56 7th Graders from Carver High School in Philadelphia engaged in inquiry-learning extending their thinking beyond the four walls of the classroom. Within the context of Social Studies and English standards students chose one H2O for Life project to investigate. After the investigation, each student developed a clear persuasive argument to encourage the audience to vote on the funding of their chosen water project.
Alongside persuading their peers to choose their sponsor project they also spent time developing letters to be sent off to congress. The letters encouraged state representatives to focus on and commit to raising awareness about solving the Global Water Crisis both locally and globally.
These letters highlight the students’ understanding of the necessity for civic engagement. One student stated,
“I thank Congress for its support to the Water for the World Act and please continue to support WASH in schools like EORM Padre Gregorio Schaffer in Guatemala. Mr. Toomey, act now to be a part of the change for schools around the world.”
Students between 12 and 13 years of age recognize the importance of involving their congress to act and be a part of the solution. These letters exemplify arguments with developed understanding and thorough research. Another student educated her congressman by sharing,
“The average Ethiopian uses about 3 gallons of water per day. While the average American uses an immense amount of 80-100 gallons of water every day. Imagine waking up in the morning, or going to bed at night without your shower, without water that runs right through your very home. This is the sad reality for men, women and children in Ethiopia who do not have access to clean water. The average 13-year-old female in Ethiopia has to walk about 8 hours a day round trip, to receive water for herself and her family. In result, she cannot get the education that she needs.”
Students who are in 7th grade identify that for a call to action they have to be informed and act out of knowledge.
This class of 56 students reached far and wide with their impact as 56 letters were sent to congress. Yet, they did not stop there. Students identified the need to not only act locally but also to act globally. Throughout this time frame they raised awareness among the entire student body by selling water drops and teaching their school community about the United Nations Sustainability Goal # 6 (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all). The Water Drop sales raised a total of $474 dollars to donate to the chosen global water project.
It is clear to see that while this started as an educational experience to meet standards within the four walls of the classroom it extended far beyond that. Through this project students not only met their academic goals but they also made a local impact with a powerful global splash. These 56 students developed the mindset that they are Global Citizens who can and will continue to change the world.