Serving Preschool Through 8th Grade in the San Francisco East Bay Since 1962

A Cross-Curricular Water Week

During the last week of October, while many 7th and 8th graders were traveling on their outdoor education trips, 6th graders and a handful of 8th graders were engaged in a week-long, project-based experience focused on water.
This engaging week of interconnected lessons spanned across Middle School disciplines, bringing to life the study of the water cycle, water issues, and water conservation.

The unit included the following hands-on activities and projects to guide students’ curiosities about water—offering an opportunity to tap into different skill sets and notice how the material from one class connected to other aspects of their lives.

  • Through a novel study of A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, students immersed themselves in the lives of two characters in South Sudan and their experiences around water.

  • After researching water contamination and drought, the impact on people and the environment, and possible solutions, students then created books based on what they learned.

  • Students explored first-person narratives and poetry about water issues, then memorized monologues and performed them in front of their classmates, building their public speaking and presentation skills. They also recorded their monologues and added music to their productions.

  • After discussing the water cycle and water in the San Joaquin Valley, students learned to sing "The Water Cycle" to help Lower School students understand the importance of the water cycle.

  • Building on mindfulness and a connection to water, students created Zentangle water bubble drawings, alcohol ink waterscapes, water-related scenes using acrylic paint, and line fish drawings that adorned Hunt Hall. They also created posters highlighting inspirational water quotes and water-saving tips.
Each class integrated and reinforced what students were learning for a creative and holistic learning experience that spanned the curriculum. By tying in elements of science, music, art, technology, and language arts to tell the story of water, Middle School students made connections that helped the lessons “stick.”

Sixth grader Ava observed, “One of my takeaways was to really be mindful of how much water I use. I really learned a lot about it during the week and everything we did was centered around it.” Classmate Mercy added, “I think presenting our monologues in front of everyone helped most people get comfortable and overcome some fears. It was a breath of fresh air to present again.”

Throughout water week, they drew meaningful connections with their work and saw the relevance and application in the world beyond the classroom—a highlight of the Seven Hills program.