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Walk for Water: Students Learn about World Water Crisis - from The Messenger

April 30, 2021

For one third-grade classroom at Duncombe Elementary School, fixing the global water crisis was easy: Just build them a well.

This was one proposal mentioned by a student of Shannon Grossnickle as they worked on their “Water Around the World” topic.

The project was part of the third-grade English Language Arts module, where students learned about the importance — and advantages — of having clean, fresh water.

The students read books about children their age who spend most of their day walking to get water for their families, according to Grossnickle.

“One of my students said, ‘why can’t we just go to Africa and build a well for them?'” Grossnickle said. “I loved that the student brought up this idea. I knew it obviously wouldn’t be possible, but wanted to give these kids a similar experience where they knew they were making a difference.

“I started researching organizations that build wells in Africa. I found a non-profit organization called ‘The Water Project’ whose mission is to provide access to clean and safe drinking water by building wells in villages across Africa.”

After learning about the water crisis around the world, many Duncombe students even took their own “Walk for Water.”

“I liked the ‘Walk for Water’ event because we were raising awareness about the world water crisis,” said third-grader Maya Denetelli. “Hopefully people make better choices.”

students carrying jugs while walking outside“I learned that a lot of people (around the globe) don’t have water, and fishing nets are killing a lot of sea life as well.”

Through the curriculum, students were educated on the crisis. The third-graders specifically learned about kids in Africa and their daily struggle just to find access to clean, fresh water.

During the process, students were asked to bring in a water jug full of items, as well as design posters to help raise awareness.

The project culminated with the “Walk for Water” around Duncombe School on Earth Day.

“One of the ways The Water Project encourages students to raise awareness about the global water crisis is through a walk for water,” Grossnickle said. “This is an event where students recreate the walk many children take every day just for water.

“Students were able to bring in various containers or jugs full of items to symbolize a full water jug. Parents were invited to drive by and honk.”

On Earth Day, students from different grade levels at Duncombe walked around the school as parents, guardians and family members encouraged them from the streets.

“The entire grade level was involved in this walk,” Grossnickle said. “The kids absolutely loved it, and gained a new perspective and understanding about the importance of simply having access to water.

“We had almost half of our parents come and drive by. One parent even had quite the horn and was honking as we were walking, which made the kids smile. It made all the difference to be able to have parents there seeing their children raising awareness about an important cause.”

Grossnickle wanted her students to understand the water crisis is an ongoing global issue. She added that students learned about the importance of not polluting, and taking better care of the Earth.

Through the ELA module, students learned about what they could do to help the shortage.

“I liked the ‘Walk for Water’ event because I really got to experience the feeling,” said third-grader Brenna Geilenfeld. “I learned that we should not take water for granted and not use too much.”

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