Archive for November, 2013


After completing Water 401 with the Asian Studies classes at Churchill High School, e-collaborate staff sat down with their teacher, Ms. John, to discuss best practices, lessons learned, and the challenges of adapting the eKWIP Challenge curriculum to fit her classroom needs. Watch this video to learn how the lesson was received by her students and her suggestions for other instructors.


This past week was an exciting one at e-collaborate. Beth and I had the opportunity to facilitate the eKWIP 401 lesson with Ms. John’s 3 Asian Studies classes at Churchill High School.  We learned a lot actually doing the lesson in a classroom.  The activity took three days and Ms. John, modified it to fit the needs and objectives of her class.  The lesson was entitled, Water as a Human Right. 

On the first day, the students watched two excerpts from the film FLOW-For Love of Water. The film juxtaposed community responses and organizing when Nestle created a water-bottling plant in a small town in Michigan and when Coca Cola did the same in a rural community in India.  Activists in both places mobilized against the large companies and each had a different outcome.  Students followed the film with a handout that Ms. John designed to help pull out the key points. They had to write down the objectives of each group in Michigan and in India, the obstacles, and the results. 

On the second day, students were divided into five groups: a private water company, the school’s administration, the parents and the community, the student body, and an environmental club at the school.  Each person in the groups was assigned to a different role to prepare their group for a mock press conference. The roles in each group were: Public Relations Agent who introduced the group’s position, Actor or Actors in the group who shared the group’s five key arguments, the Historian who asked a “soft-ball” question to their group, the Investigative Reporter who asked other groups probing questions, and the Graphic Designer who designed the group’s poster and explained the symbols he or she used. Each group collaborated to come up with five key points for the press conference. 

On the third day, the groups had the chance to finalize their points and any last minutes preparation before presenting to the class.  At the end of the press conferences, Ms. John summarized the points and explained how the different issues the students raised, directly relate to the complexities of real life situations.

The impact of the lesson was greater awareness and appreciation of water rights among students. Before the lesson began, students were asked to answer a series of ‘yes or no’ questions about their personal beliefs on the issue. For example, “Is water a human right?” and “Do we have a responsibility to provide access to water to others?”  The survey was also conducted at the end of the lesson to measure change of perceptions. What a change!  There was a 30 percent increase in the number of students who agreed that water is a human right, and only one student out of 79 disagreed that we have a responsibility to protect water after completing the lesson.

The success of this lesson was due in large part to the creativity of Ms. John, in adapting the simulation to fit her classroom needs and interests. Beth and I worked closely with her in doing this – making the simulation relevant to their community, designing specific roles for students, and identifying the most appropriate clips in the film for this simulation. Also, Ms. John did a great job of facilitating the discussion throughout; making sure the students could understand factors in this very complex issue. 

 The material used to facilitate this lesson is on the eKWIP challenge website ( under Lesson 401. In addition, a recording of our discussion with Ms. John and our reactions to the lesson can also be found on the eKWIP Challenge and on our website.  Please feel free to use in your own classes, or to leave comments or questions about the lesson on our blog or the eKWIP site. We are happy to work with any teacher or facilitator to adapt the curriculum to fit your needs and to help facilitate this experience with your students.


Image Thanks to Ms. John and her Asian Studies classes for participating and bringing the eKWIP Challenge to life.