Water and the National Curriculum
Water and the National Curriculum
A topic on water gives teachers the opportunity to cover many aspects of the National Curriculum in a practical and involving way. This chapter will guide you through some ideas for using the available materials on water for specific subjects.
A Starting Point
Focusing on water as a precious and necessary resource gives children a general overview of the topic. Suggested activities in the following packs involve children in investigating and thinking about the ways in which they use water. Many include projects looking at the home and local community, using statistics on water use to provide invaluable back-up information. In addition, there is much to learn from countries that have always had to conserve water, and in so doing we develop an empathy and understanding of other cultures.
Sections of the National Curriculum make both specific reference to and afford opportunities of studying water: at KS 2, the Geography curriculum contains a rivers component, and the weather has to be studied. In addition, there are opportunities to look at water under the environmental change theme, in particular water management and pollution. Geographical skills can be taught, including investigating water courses on maps, the use of instruments and the collection and handling of data.
Similarly, the Science curriculum contains both direct reference to water, and opportunities to study it in sections such as Life Processes and Living Things. Children at KS 2 learn about the water cycle and the different states of water. Other aspects of water occur elsewhere in Materials and their Properties. They are covered in publications listed here. Life Processes and Living Things covers a study of plant and animal life that can easily focus around a water environment. Sea and freshwater habitats are ideal places to investigate adaptation, feeding relationships, and variation and classification. The growth of plants cannot be studied without the inclusion of water and indeed offers opportunities for practical investigations.
The experimental and investigative component of the Science curriculum (AT 1) is easily tackled within a study of water. Many of the publications already mentioned contain a wide range of ideas. In addition, it is possible to undertake real projects that link with studies being carried out by scientists throughout the world.
Art & Music
Once you start looking for National Curriculum links with water you just cannot stop finding them! A visit to a water environment, for instance, is an ideal starting point for many art and music projects. Both curriculum areas include a section on using the natural environment as an inspiration for work. One particularly useful publication for this is: Water Aid: Water Performer
Water can be a rich inspiration and affords opportunities to cover many aspects of the English National Curriculum. Apart from the range of reading and writing experiences, speaking and listening can feature prominently in a project on water. In particular there are many stories and myths about the sea and river environments.
Mathematics, History, Design & Technology
Similarly, there are opportunities to cover areas of the Mathematics, History and Design and Technology curricula. This book is particularly rich in exciting ideas across the curriculum. Water is a suitable area of study throughout the age range. Children can revisit it at many different levels and the theme offers a range of experiences so that there need be no repetition.