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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Investigating Water and Sanitation

Africa, Afghanistan
Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12
Foreign Language, Language Arts & Literature, Mathematics, Science, Service Learning, Social Studies & Geography

These teaching suggestions are designed to support interdisciplinary exploration of global water and sanitation issues. They may be used on their own or to extend students’ learning from the WebQuest Improving Access to Water and Sanitation.

More about water and sanitation in the world:

More about water issues in the United States:


Language Arts: Select a country featured in World Wise Schools' Water in Africa unit. Read the narratives submitted by Peace Corps Volunteers about how water issues intersect with people's daily lives. Reflect on the themes presented (e.g., Water and Culture, The Source of Our Water, Managing Water, Conservation, Environment and Agriculture, Health and Nutrition, Recreation, and Transportation). Write about how what you read compare and contrasts with your experience in the U.S.

Social Studies: View the video The Last Drop , produced by a Peace Corps Volunteer and her Jordanian students. How does the water situation in Jordan relate to geographical, economic, and environmental issues? Explore how the water conservation solutions of using reclaimed water for agriculture and harvesting rainwater have been used in other countries.

Science: View the video Fog's Bounty: Harvesting Water from Fog . Explain how the process of fog harvesting works and how the hydrologic cycle relates to this process. Consider the environmental and geographical factors that contributed to this project's success. Are there other regions in the world you would recommend implementing this project? Why would these areas be appropriate?

Foreign Language: Read or listen to the story Drip Diplomacy , an account of a Peace Corps Volunteer's daily task of collecting water in the Dominican Republic. What can you infer about Dominican culture based on the Volunteer's story? How does her community's perspective on water differ from yours? Brainstorm responses to these questions in English or Spanish. 

Frameworks & Standards

Enduring Understandings
  • Water is a shared global resource, but is not equally accessible to all.
  • Clean water and basic sanitation are essential for health and wellbeing.
  • Water and sanitation are connected to a number of key global issues, such as health, poverty, agriculture, environment, and gender equality.
Essential Questions
  • Why should we use water sustainably?
  • How does a lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation affect peoples lives?
  • What can we do to improve access to clean water and basic sanitation around the world?


Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

  • Writing
    • Text types and purposes: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

National Science Education Standards

  • Content Standard F: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    • Personal and community health
    • Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

  • Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections
    • Explore the causes, consequences, and possible solutions related to persistent, current, and emerging global issues, such as health

National Standards for Foreign Language Learning

  • Cultures
    • Standard 2.1:  Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the practices and perspectives of the culture studied

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

  • Measurement and data
    • Represent and interpret data
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