Water Blogged

Students at Madison Consolidated High School partner with their peers from a school in Kenya

Posted by Danielle MacGillivray on March 20, 2019

Madison, Indiana is an historic rivertown buzzing with antique shops, nature walks, and a high school looking to change the world. Staff members from H2O for Life first met Christina Goodpaster, an 11th grade English teacher, at the Summer of E-Learning Conference hosted by Madison Consolidated High School. Later, Christina reached out to H2O for Life in hopes of broadening her students’ cultural understanding of the world beyond their bustling community.

With this goal in mind, Christina and H2O for Life worked together to implement a learning experience that would leave an indelible impression on the students in her classroom. Goodpaster’s students studied the story of the global water crisis through the lens of the TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, by Chimamanda Adichie. Goodpaster envisioned her students walking away from the experience understanding the ripple effects of the global water crisis and the detrimental impact it has on a community, but also that the crisis does not define a community’s complete story, as it is made up of individuals with a much richer story to tell.

To kick off the unit, Madison Consolidated 11th graders researched the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, identified the most important goal, and defended their viewpoint in a classroom debate.  

Goodpaster reflects, “We had our class discussion on the goals today and it went well. The students were surprised by some of the statistics and while they didn’t think water was needed for all the goals, they did agree that water was one of, if not the most important, because, to quote one of my students, ‘Without water, you die.’”

Students then analyzed The Danger of the Single Story and reflected on the following question, “What is the “stereotype” of individuals who are influenced by the global water crisis?”  They broke down that stereotype by sending videos to and from their partner school, the Gidagadi Secondary School in Kenya. Through this opportunity they were able to identify different interests held by their international peers, reflect on their original viewpoints, and analyze how those changed after their video exchange.

After being inspired by their classroom experience, Madison 11th graders worked together to take action and bring safe water to their peers in Kenya. The students at Madison Consolidated High School raised awareness about the issue and donated $120, exceeding their original goal by 267%!

Goodpaster shared,My class is organizing a sale of cookies and water bottles. They are reaching out to the Graphics teacher to make labels, the Newspaper teacher to advertise it on our announcements, and the Principal to okay everything.” The students at Madison Consolidated High School took initiative to make a difference all in support of clean water for their peers at Gidagadi Secondary School.

Christina Goodpaster writes about their experience, This has been a great experience. The students have been surprised by the fact that the water crisis is so severe and the videos from the students at Gidigadi have really humanized the crisis for them. As an odd side effect, many of my students have been checking their privilege and I’ve heard less whining about minor inconveniences after they saw how positive the Gidigadi kiddos were.”

To see their video exchanges watch the videos attached:

Gidagadi Student 1
Gidagadi Student 2
Gidagadi Student 3
Gidagadi Student 4

Madison Student 1
Madison Student 2
Madison Student 3

If you are looking for a similar experience to Christina’s classroom please check out the resources below:

Phase One: Formal Debate
Phase Two: The Danger of a Single Story
Phase Three: Spoken Word PSA

If you would like to bring an H2O for Life experience to your classroom, contact Danielle Kruger here.

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