The cornerstone of Project WET is its methodology of teaching about water resources through hands-on, investigative, easy-to-use activities.
Project WET activities are:
- Accurate and science-based. Content experts review the information, and educators and students field test the materials.
- Interactive. Engaging students through questioning and other inquiry-based strategies, educators involve students in hands-on lessons and encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning by:
- seeking answers to real-world problems
- playing games to explore scientific concepts
- reflecting, debating and sharing by creating songs, stories and dramas
- Multisensory. Full-body activities engage the senses, which research shows enhances learning.
- Adaptable. Project WET activities can be taught and performed indoors and outdoors, in a variety of settings with a range of group sizes.
- Contemporary, incorporating technology and twenty-first-century skills. In most activities, students work in small, collaborative groups. Many activities engage students in higher-level thinking skills, requiring them to: analyze, interpret, apply information (problem-solving, decision-making and planning), evaluate and present.
- Cross-cultural. Materials prepare students for participation in a global economy, in which an understanding of water resources will be critical.
- Relevant. Educators are encouraged to localize activities to give them relevance.
- Solution-oriented. Project WET believes in linking awareness and education to action and solutions through its ActionEducation™ initiative.
- Measurable. Project WET activities provide simple assessment tools to measure student learning.
Material Development Process
When Project WET receives funding to create a new publication, it convenes a leadership team of teachers, academics, researchers and water experts. This team usually:
- participates in a developmental meeting or workshop.
- helps outline the publication.
- reviews drafts for comments.
- helps ensure lessons and materials meet teachers’ needs, including:
- rural and urban teachers.
- teachers who reach students in different languages and use different customs.
The Curriculum Development Meeting or Workshop
Through the Project WET activity “Idea Pools,” workshop participants (including teachers, academics, researchers and industry professionals) identify curriculum topics.
Participants break into teams, one for each topic identified. Each team comprises representatives from different disciplines. The team then creates an activity for their assigned topic using the Project WET activity template.
Typically, the writing workshop lasts three to five days. Each day, teams participate in writing sessions. At the end of the workshop, teams model their activity for the group.
After the workshop, the Project WET staff fine-tunes the activities and sends them to the leadership team for review. After incorporating their feedback, drafts are sent to teachers to field test in the classroom.
Teachers provide feedback after completing the activities, and the feedback is integrated. After a final review by the leadership team and reviewers (usually writing workshop participants), the activities are sent to production.
A unique element of this process is development of a community vested in the publication’s success. Upon publication, the community that helped create the curriculum promotes its use.
For shorter publications, such as KIDs booklets, the initial working session is usually a full-day meeting. Idea Pools is still used to identify participants’ priority topics.
The writing process is initiated at the meeting and completed by Project WET staff. Leadership team members review subsequent drafts and the outcome of the field test.