Mickle Trafford Village School Address Water Conservation
29 February 2012
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It formed part of our whole school work around Eco-Schools but also linked well with our 'On the Line' curriculum work. We wanted to extend pupil awareness of global cohesion and so focused on finding out more about countries that shared similar lines of longitude as us – France, Spain and Ghana. In addition we are learning about Unicef’s Right and Responsibilities of the Child and decided on three main topics – water term, food term and play term.
Our year 5 pupils had the opportunity to visit an educational centre run by United Utilities and this proved to be an excellent starting point for their work on water conservation – looking at how they could improve on our own energy saving habits in school and also extending this to the wider community.
Delivering the project and linking it to the curriculum
It integrated extremely well into our curriculum: science - the water cycle, maths - data handling and reading scales, literacy – persuasive writing and letters, art – posters, ICT and geography.
As we are an old school our water meter is located outside near our school gates in the staff car park. The cover is difficult to remove and so it has not been possible for the children to monitor our water consumption.
Getting the pupils involved
The class visit motivated the children. Many learning experiences were relevant for the children, for example writing to their parents to explain ways of saving water at home. Making water hippos and placing them in our school toilets was seen as an easy and worthwhile action – many of our children have reported that they have carried this out at home too.
Children also organised themselves into groups to share information with the rest of the school – a photo story posted on the website and shown in assembly explaining their trip, posters placed around school encouraging others to save water and one group decided to produce a school magazine – one copy for each class and also displayed on the eco notice board.
As the theme for the whole school was the topic of water the children were naturally interested in the experiences of children throughout the world regarding access to clean water. This meant that they were motivated to support Water Aid as part of our charitable work. Year 6 pupils organised the collections – giving each class empty water bottles to fill with coins.
Benefits of being an Eco-School
Changes the children have made have been simple but easy to stick to. It is too early to say what the changes to our school costs are – our bills are held at County level and we need to try and get copies of our consumption to monitor this.
Quite by accident our Parish Council asked if the children could take part in a competition organised by them and our local zoo to spread the message on energy conservation to the community by designing posters. The children found this easy and enjoyable and judges were very impressed by the level of understanding the children showed not only about the subject matter but also the layout of posters for maximum effect.
For teachers it was an excellent quick assessment tool and ideal activity to run alongside play rehearsals at Christmas – easy to start, leave and come back to.
We did have to address one health and safety issue – our Reception children thought there were real hippos in the toilets when they saw the posters and tried to lift the cistern lids to have a look!
Looking at other ways to reduce waste – we have had paper recycling bins for a long time but have not thought about encouragements to keep this to a minimum. We want to look at ways of weighing waste in classrooms, keeping records over time and giving incentives to classes to reduce this.