WebQuest: Water, Sanitation & HealthPrint this Page
- Subject(s): Social Studies & Geography, Environment & Health, Service Learning
- Region / Country: Africa
- Grade Level(s): 9–12
- Duration: 3 class periods
Students will use Water in Africa resources, and additional internet resources, to complete a WebQuest about water issues in Africa. The WebQuest incorporates skills in geography, analysis, and information literacy. Students will begin with the story of a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon to examine a water problem and solution in one community, and then will use other Peace Corps stories and internet resources to conduct research. Students will learn about reasons why some areas have limited access to clean water, the effect this has on communities, and some strategies for addressing these problems. They will work in teams to complete the WebQuest, research a particular country, and prepare for a World Water Summit meeting to address water problems in Africa.
More about global water issues:
- World Wise Schools: Water in Africa
- UNICEF: Water, Safety, and Hygiene
- UN Water and World Water Day
- National Academy of Sciences: Safe Drinking Water is Essential
- Slide show: Water Source Protection in Cameroon
- Water in Africa WebQuest
- Computers with Internet access
- Use geography and critical thinking skills to interpret maps, gather information, analyze data, and draw conclusions.
- Explain the difficulties in maintaining an adequate clean water supply in Cameroon and other African nations.
- Explain the impact of insufficient clean water supplies on communities, particularly the impact on children, health, education, and economics.
- Identify methods and technologies used by communities in Cameroon and other parts of the world to provide clean water and protect water sources.
- Develop a research briefing that includes recommendations for addressing the issue of clean water and explaining how these recommendations help meet the needs of the community.
- Ground water: water within the earth that supplies wells and streams
- Surface water: water collecting on the ground or in a stream, river, lake, wetland, or ocean; it is replenished by precipitation
- Improved Water Source: a source of water that is more likely to provide safe drinking water, such as protected wells, boreholes, rainwater collection, and household connections to a water network
- Catchment: a device used for collecting water
- Borehole: a small-diameter well drilled to obtain water
- Sanitation: hygienic means of promoting health through prevention of human contact with the hazards of wastes
- Sustainable Development: resource use that meets human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs may also be met for future generations.
- Conservation: Careful protection or preservation of some resource
- Fresh water: water on earth's surface that is not salty; an important natural resource
- Introduce students to the idea of a WebQuest (see Background Information). Explain that they will be working to collect information and propose a response to a real-world problem. Divide students into mixed-ability groups of three-five students. Each group will need access to a computer connected to the internet.
- Explain that the WebQuest features Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Africa. If students are not familiar with Peace Corps, provide some background information from peacecorps.gov.
- Handout the WebQuest Research Pages to students. Explain to students that they will be working on a WebQuest exploring issues of water security in Africa. They will be learning about reasons why some areas have limited access to clean water, the effect this has on communities, and some strategies for addressing these problems. They will work in teams to study the problem, research a particular country, and prepare for a World Water Summit.
- Open the WebQuest. As a whole class, review the Introduction and Task sections. Demonstrate how to navigate between the pages of the WebQuest. Explain that they will work in teams to research the issue of clean water and make recommendations to the U.N. "World Water Summit." They will select one country, explain that country's challenges with water, and suggest policies that will help provide adequate supplies of clean water.
- Students begin by analyzing a set of maps. Give students about 10-15 minutes to complete this portion of the task, and then bring the class back together to discuss their findings. What are some generalizations that can be made at this point in their research? What additional information should they look for in the next step of the task?
- Students conduct general research on the problem of water in Africa. Have them use the research pages to organize their notes as they go through the websites in this portion of the activity. At the end of this step, you may wish to bring the class back together to discuss their findings and make sure everyone has adequately completed the research notes.
- Students will select one of these countries from the Water in Africa module: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, or Zambia. You may choose to assign a different country to each group, or to narrow down the list of choices further. Provide students with the research pages to take notes and organize the information they find. Remind students that they should be gathering information that will be useful in their briefing.
- After students have completed their web research, bring them back together to review the requirements for the group presentations. Remind them that they will present a briefing about their particular country to the World Water Summit, and review the information they should include. As students work on their briefings, provide suggestions and assistance.
- After groups finish their presentations, begin the World Water Summit meeting. Each group should present their briefing, and answer questions from the other countries. After all groups have presented, lead a discussion about the results. What are the most pressing problems? Why should these problems be addressed? What actions should the United Nations take, as well as local communities?
- After the meeting, have students complete the WebQuest evaluation rubric for their groups. Discuss with students the "conclusion" questions at the end of the WebQuest. What have they learned? What are they interested in learning more about? What actions can they take in their own community to address these issues?
- For connections to science, complete the Building a Model Springbox activity that corresponds with Lauren Fry's Water Source Protection slideshow.
- Have students examine water safety in their own community. What impact do agricultural runoff and sewage have on the water supply? How can students help maintain a clean water supply? Develop a service learning project to improve awareness about water conservation.
- Invite a former Peace Corps Volunteer to speak at your school about water issues in another country. To find a speaker in your area, sign up for the Speakers Match Program.
Use the WebQuest Evaluation Rubric to assess students' performance on this task. You can ask students to evaluate their own effort and performance using the rubric.
Framework and Standards
- Sufficient access to clean water contributes to health and economic well-being.
- Communities can work together, using technology and education, to solve problems and improve the health of community members.
- Clean water is essential for health and survival. While many parts of the world have easy access to plentiful supplies of clean water, other areas of the world have many obstacles to obtaining clean water.
- Why is a lack of clean water especially problematic for children?
- How can communities work together to ensure sufficient access to clean water?
- What impact does access to clean water have on communities?
- Essential Element I: The World in Spatial Terms
- Essential Element II: Places and Regions
- Essential Element III : Physical Systems
- Essential Element V: Environment and Society
- Essential Element VI: The Use of Geography
- Thematic Strand I: Culture
- Thematic Strand III : People, Places, and Environments
- Thematic Strand IX: Global Connections