Your schoolyard and your local neighbourhood, along with any nearby ravines, ponds, wetlands or parks, offer a stimulating learning environment. So get outside! We encourage classes to learn about water by interacting with their local watershed.
Pay attention to your questions. This is the foundation of inquiry-based learning. What questions do you have about watersheds and water issues? Check out our Questions about Watersheds to get your ideas flowing.
As you decide what you want to learn about watersheds, plan activities in, about and for the environment in order to foster learning.*
Inquiry-based learning is a collaborative learning process in which students actively build their knowledge through questioning, authentic investigations, discussion and reflection. When we are inspired to ask questions, we are motivated to explore the answers.
Each watershed has a unique natural and cultural history. What do you know about the local watershed? How is the watershed important to your community? How are you connected to the water supply? What challenges does your watershed face? How can you use creativity to spread awareness about the local water supply? How can you actively care for the local watershed?
Form questions about your watershed and design a learning plan to investigate these questions:
How does water cycle through our watershed? Are we connected to the water cycle? How?
Where does our tap water come from? How do they make the water drinkable? What happens to the water that goes down my sink or flows through the toilet? Do all Canadians have access to clean drinking water? Why or why not?
How does that affect the local waterway? What are the impacts?
How does this impact the local water supply?
What types of insects, animals, birds and plants live here? How might they be impacted by humans?
What is their impact? How do they affect the food chains in your watershed?
How might the forces that formed our waterways continue to affect our waterways today?
Of my province or territory? Of Canada?
What ideas do you have to explore answers to your questions? How might you explore your questions in the outdoor learning environment?
Get your hands dirty! Find ideas for hands-on activities that explore learning about watersheds in the Activities section of our website.
You may find it helpful to use a KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) chart, or a question matrix to help you and your class develop questions and investigations.
To learn more about inquiry-based learning, try the following resources:
These tips were adapted from Before You Go Outside from Evergreen’s Teacher’s Corner and The Watershed Connection guide.
* Education about, for and in the environment are included in the Ontario Ministry of Education’s definition of environmental education in Shaping our Schools, Shaping Our Future (2007) and have been adopted as recommended practice by the TDSB EcoSchools and Ontario EcoSchools programs.