Water and Us: tales and hands-on laboratories to educate about sustainable and nonconflictual water resources management

Munerol, Francesca; Avanzi, Francesco; Panizza, Eleonora; Altamura, Marco; Gabellani, Simone; Polo, Lara; Mantini, Marina; Alessandri, Barbara; Ferraris, Luca

Climate change and water security are among the grand challenges of the 21st century, but literacy on these matters among high-school students is often unsystematic and/or detached from the real world. This study aims to introduce the educational objectives, methods, and early results of “Water and Us”, a three-module initiative that can contribute to advancing water education in a warming climate by focusing on the natural and anthropogenic water cycle, climate change, and emerging water conflicts. The method of Water and Us revolves around storytelling to aid understanding and generate new knowledge, learning by doing, a flipped-classroom environment, and a constant link to examples from the real world (such as ongoing droughts across the world or seeds of conflict regarding transnational river basins). Water and Us was established in 2021–2022 and, during that school year, involved inline-formula≥200 students as part of a proof of concept to test the complete didactic approach using small-scale experiments. Results from inline-formula≥40 h of proof-of-concept events confirmed the effectiveness of this approach with respect to conveying the essential elements of the natural and anthropogenic water cycle, the most commonly recurring concepts related to climate change and water as well as the possible conflicts and solutions related to water scarcity in a warming climate. The Water and Us team remains interested in networking with colleagues and potential recipients to upscale and further develop this work.

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Munerol, Francesca / Avanzi, Francesco / Panizza, Eleonora / et al: Water and Us: tales and hands-on laboratories to educate about sustainable and nonconflictual water resources management. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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