GUEST BLOGGER NANCY CASTALDO
What if, one day, you turned on the faucet and nothing happened? What would you do if you found out the water in your home was harmful to drink? Have your students read Neal and Jarod Shusterman’s DRY which explores this possibility in an eco-fiction novel? Readers will step out of fiction with WHEN THE WORLD RUNS DRY: EARTH’S WATER IN CRISIS, my January 2022 release, to discover what is happening to the world’s water right now.
Water in crisis
Water is essential for life on our planet, but the water we depend on for drinking, cooking, bathing, growing food, and more is in danger around the world. WHEN THE WORLD RUNS DRY takes readers from Flint, Michigan to Cape Town, South Africa.
Readers will meet families facing too much water, too little water, and toxic water issues. They’ll also be introduced to many teen activists and inventors who are making a difference in their communities. All of our voices matter. This activity will provide an opportunity for students to raise their voices about issues, such as clean water, that concern them.
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to:
- Write informative texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
- Understand that humans impact ecosystems.
- Demonstrate that humans can protect and improve the environment through words, art, and music.
Books included in this lesson
- WHEN THE WORLD RUNS DRY by Nancy Castaldo
- BACK FROM THE BRINK by Nancy Castaldo
- SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson
Build a water background
- Introduce the plight of bald eagles using BACK FROM THE BRINK: SAVING ANIMALS FROM EXTINCTION with students.
- Read the first few pages of SILENT SPRING to the class. Discuss who Rachel Carson was and how she helped launch the environmental movement and ban on DDT.
The power of one voice
- Focus on how Rachel’s one voice made a huge impact.
- Read about Standing Rock in Chapter 3 from WHEN THE WORLD RUNS DRY. Turn to page 163 to read about how Autumn Peltier raised her voice as a Standing Rock Water Protector. Explore the other water activists throughout the book. How did each raise their voice to protect their water and help others?
How shall we use our voices?
- Brainstorm all the ways we can use our voices to make a difference about environmental concerns, including writing emails/letters to lawmakers and news outlets, and writing slam poetry and persuasive essays. Have students choose one for their project.
- Join back together after students complete their projects to share those actions, research and next steps.
- Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
- Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.
NYS Science Learning Standards
- Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
- Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
Learning Framework Connections
- The students gain knowledge about their local environment, regional environment, and global environment. They demonstrate an understanding of how a decision we make can have unintended consequences. They also learn that we all have the ability to make a difference.
- The students are empowered by the opportunity to offer their perspective on an issue that matters to them. This enables them to see that they can make a difference and have their voices heard by decision-makers in our state.
- We can all make a difference when we join together and, in most cases, there are people who have championed the effort that could be highlighted – even kids!
Nancy Castaldo is a certified National Geographic educator, author and photographer. She has been writing about the planet for over twenty years and her books have garnered many awards and honors. She is the author of Back From The Brink (HMH), The Story of Seeds (HMH), and Sniffer Dogs (HMH), among others. Her 2022 titles include When The World Runs Dry (Algonquin), The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale (Scientists in the Field, Clarion), and Buildings That Breathe (Lerner). Look for her on Twitter (@NCastaldoAuthor), Facebook, Pinterest, and her website www.nancycastaldo.com