Clean water in the classroom : understanding the importance of water quality

Emily Curry



This study’s objective was to answer three research questions related to students’ knowledge and attitudes about water quality and availability issues. It is important to understand what knowledge students have about environmental problems such as these, because today’s students will become the problem solvers of the future. If environmental problems, such as those related to water quality, are ever going to be solved, students must be environmentally literate.

Several methods of data collection were used. Surveys were given to both Bolivian and Jackson High School students in order to comparison their initial knowledge and attitudes about water quality issues. To study the effects of instruction, a unit of instruction about water quality issues was then taught to the Jackson High School students to see what impact it would have on their knowledge. In addition, the learning of two different groups of Jackson High School students was compared—one group of general education students and a second group of students that were learning in an inclusion classroom and included special education students and struggling learners form the general education population. Student and teacher journals, a unit test, and postsurvey responses were included in the data set.

Results suggested that when comparing Bolivian students and Jackson High School students, Jackson High School students were more knowledgeable concerning clean water infrastructure and its importance, despite the fact that these issues were less relevant to their lives than for their Bolivian counterparts. Although overall, the data suggested that all the Jackson High students showed evidence that the instruction impacted their knowledge, the advanced Biology students appeared to show stronger gains than their peers in an inclusion classroom.