Waste Water Resource

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Play with Water: Introducing ecological engineering to primary schools to increase interest and understanding of natural sciences

The aim of WASTE WATER RESOURCE project was to assemble, develop and assess teaching and demonstration material on ecotechnological research and methods for pupils aged between 10 and 13 years.

The project designed and developed four biological models to help students to understand the basic concepts of ecology and discover the potential of waste water as a natural resource. Reflecting the latest research in ecotechnology, the models present ways to handle water and wastewater, how to reuse nutrients in waste. They describe the paths of waste in nature and its influence on ecosystems.

The quality and impact of the different teaching units was assessed in six schools involved in the project, using questionnaires, interviews and observations. An analysis of the data obtained was carried out for each of the four teaching units.

The results and conclusions of the WASTE WATER RESOURCE were presented at conferences, in publications, newsletters, leaflets and articles available to the wider public, as well as video material of various types. All these materials are available for download on the project website.

Basic information

Country: Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland

Coordinator: Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, www.lsfm.zhaw.ch

Programme: FP6

Project Acronym:

Target groups: primary school students, secondary school students, teachers

Topic: Applied sciences, Biology, Ecology, Environmental sciences

Start year: 2005

End year: 2008

Url: http://www.zhaw.ch/iunr/play-with-water/

Contact person: Prof. Dr. Ranka Junge. University of Applied Sciences Zurich, ranka.junge (at) zhaw.ch

The project first developed an appropriate methodology and a common pedagogical framework for the implementation of the teaching units. The teachers implementing the materials were provided with detailed instructions on how to use them in their classroom;  in most cases also with direct support from the students from the participating universities.

The project website also offers supplementary material, educative information and recommendations on integrating minorities in the teaching process. The evaluation of the materials also considered the gender aspect of teaching science in school, as well as the engagement of students from ethnic and linguistic minorities.

The topics of the four teaching units are follows:

•    Compost factory
•    From fish to tomato
•    Secret o rivers
•    Cleaning water with plants

The "Compost factory" model allows pupils to experiment with biodegradable and non-degradable materials. The "Fish to tomato" presents a polyculture system that combines aquaculture with vegetable or fruit production. "Secrets of rivers" demonstrates how rivers react to different conditions and to pollution. Finally, the "Cleaning water with plants" model teaches children about wastewater recycling in constructed wetlands.

Each unit is divided into several parts including background information and a step-by-step guide how to build the model and how to carry out the experiments.

 

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