Wind and Water
LTL Schoolgrounds-UK Groundnotes (membership scheme resources)
Water and energy are two of the environmental topics listed in the Eco Schools Scotland Programme. The collection of activities described here can contribute to children’s active learning about these topics, including an investigation into the properties and use of water, and mapping these services within the school grounds.
More ambitiously, they can form part of a larger planned project to develop and irrigate planted areas and growing beds within your school grounds.
Did you know?
The school grounds provide an excellent classroom for learning about renewable energy. They provide opportunities for teaching about sustainable development through new technologies, and also can demonstrate closed systems that provide sustainable power. For example, wind energy or solar power can be used to drive a fountain or irrigation systems within the school grounds.
For example an integrated capillary system has been installed at the growing schools garden in southeast London. Energy generated through wind and solar power is used to drive the irrigation system which takes rainwater from a water butt to different planted beds within the garden. This helps overcome maintenance issues for schools where planted areas need watering over school holidays.
In a project instigated by their Head of Geography, Royston High School in Barnsley developed a micro river system in their grounds for teaching and learning.
Before the activity
Research how water is used in your school and grounds (part of the Eco Schools Scotland programme). Look for dripping taps, and leaks. (A tap that drips once a second wastes 33 litres a day in a year - that's enough for 446 showers!) How are cisterns controlled, or can the school reduce water for washing? Are water butts used to collect rainwater for the school garden?
- how plants take up water
- make a rain gauge
These materials are available to download from Glasgow City Council Ranger resources
Research the growing schools garden example above
The water cycle and other activities are illustrated in worksheets and interactive games from the Scottish Water website Education section
Surveying your outdoor site is a key early stage in the process of using and developing your school grounds. Any development that involves digging up the hard surface in the playground will involve locating services which includes drains and pipes. By investigating water in the school grounds, pupils can map where these services are located. Obtain a base plan from your local authority and make multiple copies for the pupils to use. Contact the utility companies for services like gas and water. Pupils can draw these key water features on their plans, or create a map of their grounds using a Draw or CD-Rom map making package.
Investigate. Where would be the best place to install a water butt to recycle rainwater? Research local suppliers and costs of water butts, including those made of recycled materials.
Where would be the best location for a weather station or renewable energy watering system? (see below).
Mark on your plans where water is a problem – e.g. waterlogged grass or puddled areas in the sports areas or an asset e.g. wildlife pond/ external tap for outdoor supply. Investigate opportunities to create freshwater habitats for wildlife either wetland areas or ponds, checking first with your local authority technical services and health and safety officer for their policies.
Display your plans for everyone to see. Use them as part of your ‘water resource’ evidence base for planning better use and development of your grounds.
Downloadable resource sheet are available from the Growing Schools Garden Teachers Resource pack listed below, and curriculum linked topics include:
- Develop your own renewable energy watering system.
- Make your own weather station instruments. The worksheet includes design ideas and materials for a windmill weathervane and large friendly goose windsock, but you can do your own designs to reflect your school location and interests.
Center for Alternative Technology teachers resources www.cat.org.uk
Growing schools garden teachers resource pack
Eco schools Scotland: water topic sheet and more detailed information and suggested action in the water topic area of the handbook http://www.ecoschoolsscotland.org/documents/Water.pdf
Contact www.ltl.org.uk for English school case studies
BBC Scotland Education on line
Are You Eco Friendly? (5-9 years)
Join the futuristic Environmental Intelligence Unit and help protect the environment! Tackle a series of interactive missions to learn about saving energy, reducing waste and recycling litter.