Sarah Wilson, MWDOC Public Affairs Specialist
For nearly five decades, the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) has offered a successful, environment-based water education program for Orange County students to learn about the importance of water and what it takes for purveyors to deliver a safe and reliable supply to their homes. As part of its steadfast commitment to educate the community and encourage leaders of today, and tomorrow, MWDOC along with water agencies and cities throughout Orange County collaboratively bring water education into the classroom through a variety of cutting-edge programs.
For the first time since the school program’s inception in 1973, MWDOC now offers Orange County students in all K-12 grade levels the opportunity to learn about water under one of the most successful and well-respected water education programs in Southern California. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, MWDOC selected three contractors to administer the four MWDOC Water Education School Programs—Shows That Teach (grades K-2), Discovery Cube Orange County (grades 3- 6 and grades 7-8), and Bolsa Chica Conservancy (grades 9-12). With a little more than half of the school year underway, all three contractors have made notable progress in reaching students across Orange County.
Shows That Teach: Grades K-2
“H2O, Where Did You Go?” is a fun, educational, and interactive assembly-style program that uses music, humor, and audience participation to engage students in water science topics such as the water cycle, water supply resources, and water use efficiency. This exciting program provides fundamental water knowledge to students in grades K-2, building a solid foundation for all other future MWDOC Water Education School Programs offered. To date, more than 5,200 students have participated, and nearly 4,750 been booked to receive the program for the 2019/2020 school year.
“The students were engaged the whole time…The presenters were professional and personable. I would definitely have them again. All the kids were singing the songs after they left.” – 1st grade teacher, Christ Lutheran Elementary
Discovery Cube Orange County: Grades 3-6 and 7-8
Through Discovery Cube Orange County (DCOC), the MWDOC Elementary School Program (grades 3-6) has reached more than 5,100 students, and just over 13,150 students have been booked for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year so far.
By participating in grade-specific assemblies, students in grades 3-6 are given valuable instruction on local climate, water resources, and ways to be water efficient. Students are tested on their water awareness with a keypad device before an assembly program begins, and at the conclusion of the program to measure concept retention.
The MWDOC Water Education Middle School Program is also presented by DCOC for students in grades 7-8. Through interactive labs and workshops, students explore their water footprint and discover how everyday activities can significantly impact water quality and water supply. Currently, DCOC has booked close to 1,350 students to receive the MWDOC Middle School Program (grades 7-8) for the 2019/2020 school year. The participating middle schools are located in the City of Brea, El Toro Water District, and City of Fountain Valley service areas.
“The program was well organized and effectively presented. The information was important and presented with relation to everyday living. Great program!” – 5th grade teacher, Star View Elementary School
Bolsa Chica Conservancy: Grades 9-12
Through a multi-visit lesson plan offered by the Bolsa Chica Conservancy, students connect with and learn from, their local ecosystems by participating in hands-on, science based activities and discussions. The program consists of three visits to each participating high school class. On the first visit, students explore California water supply challenges and discuss local and state infrastructure projects that support and improve water reliability for the region. On the second visit, students receive a visit from the mobile learning center—Windows to Our Wetlands—and actively participate in learning stations that emphasize the importance of water quality. Finally, on the third visit, students review what they have learned through the program with an in-class presentation to their peers.
To date, Bolsa Chica Conservancy has completed all 3 sessions of the MWDOC High School Program at Dana Hills (2 class periods), Edison, El Toro, Mission Viejo, and Santa Ana high schools. Additionally, Westminster (4 class periods), La Quinta, San Clemente, Tesoro, and Tustin high schools have all expressed interest in the program.
“I liked it so much I asked them back next year. The watershed and water quality information is part of the AP Environmental Science curriculum and very helpful for the students.” – AP Environmental Science teacher, El Toro High School
If you are interested in learning more about the MWDOC Water Education School Programs, visit www.mwdoc.com/schoolprograms.