Project WET Teaches Teachers
Twenty-six middle and high school teachers participated in a five-day water focused STEM seminar learning about water, and how to take what they’ve learned back to their classrooms.
Arizona Project WET, a program of UA Cooperative Extension hosted the five-day Tucson STEM Academy, focusing on water, and sponsored by Tucson Water.
Teachers participated in hands-on labs and experiments, heard from speakers, and took tours of various sites – including the “Pure Water” truck, a truck that travels around Arizona, equipped with a complete water purification system.
“Part of Project WET is providing water education to teachers - we’re bringing research into the classroom,” said Betsy Wilkening, Coordinator of Environmental Programs for Arizona Project WET.
Teachers heard from Tucson Water Director Tim Thomure, about the “one water” framework, as well.
“The ‘One Water’ framework is a paradigm shift in the water industry, where you not only look at the water sources, like the Central Arizona Project, ground water, and reclaimed water. Now we’re looking at storm and rain water. And we’re looking at how water supply is definitely affected in the Colorado River,” said Wilkening.
Teachers say they have found value in focusing on Southern Arizona water issues, in particular.
“There are a lot of great labs I participated in this week, that have been related to local water issues,” said Rachel de Masi, a teacher at Marana High School.
“I’ve been furthering my education, and the sessions help me to relate what I’ve learned to local issues. The more local, the more the students are able to relate to it, and they care. In high school, if students don’t care, it’s hard for them to connect to it. Real-life application is where it’s at for high school students,” said de Masi.
Teachers receive a small stipend while they attend the program, and when the week is over –materials and equipment are available for teachers to borrow, and they have access to online resources, as well.
The teachers also schedule University of Arizona students, who are trained as water educators, to facilitate hands-on lessons in their classrooms.
The ‘STEM academy' is not the only academy held for teachers…Head here to learn more about other opportunities for teachers through Arizona Project WET.
If you are a student interested in becoming a water educator, contact Miriam Aleman at email@example.com