Ditch Single-Use Water Bottles!

First graders in Mrs. VanKuiken’s class tried to help solve the problem of single use plastic water bottles floating in the Potomac River and ending up along the banks. We reached out to our neighborhood to see if water bottle use was a problem around us and then tested our own drinking water to show that it truly is clean. We researched water scarcity and discussed why some places need to use single use water bottles to have access to clean water. We then tried to get the word out about our clean water by making posters to hang around Alexandria and a video that went out via Twitter and Facebook to the local community.

Teacher: Heather VanKuiken

Students: First-graders at Charles Barrett Elementary School

Driving Question: Is the water in Alexandria clean enough to drink?

Standards of Learning:

1.1: Students will demonstrate an understanding of scientific and engineering processes.

1.8: Students will investigate and understand that natural resources can be used responsibly.

The 5Cs:

  • Critical Thinking: Students were presented with the problem and came up with questions and possible solutions through discussions.
  • Collaboration: Students completed steps of the project and presented their information to the whole group. They all knew our end goal and worked together to get there.
  • Communication: Everyone participated in conversation and was able to share their perspective in a respectful way. Students asked questions when they needed clarification.
  • Creative Thinking: Students helped come up with solutions to our big problem. They were interested in changing the direction of our project after we got data back from the local neighborhood. We took time during one session to reflect on things we are each good at to see what we could help out with the most.
  • Citizenship Skills: Students embraced the project and discussed how it helps our community. They saw the importance of solving this problem and are excited to solve more problems in the future.