Happy Dancing Turtle is fortunate to be located in the middle of the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Actually, it’s 11,842 lakes, but who’s counting. A person can hardly drive a mile down the road without passing a lake, pond, river, or stream, often seeing one or the other on both sides of the road. With such an abundance of water around us, it can be easy to take it for granted, which is exactly the reason we make it a point to include lessons on water in all of our youth educational programs.
Starting with our youngest learners, preschoolers at Tiny Turtles learn that around 60% of their bodies are composed of water, which always blows their minds! From there, they brainstorm the different ways that not only people but plants and animals as well, use water. Finally, we discuss different ways that we can use less water, not letting the water run while brushing your teeth being the easiest for them to relate to!
Tiny Turtles seeing how much of their body is made of water.
Second graders in area schools get a water lesson as well, when Happy Dancing Turtle staff visit their classrooms to teach them about the water cycle and all of the different places on Earth that water is found. One of the kids’ favorite facts every time is that (for all practical purposes) there is the same amount of water on Earth now as there was millions of years ago and that the water they drank after gym just might be the same water that a dinosaur drank!
Students also travel as a drop of water to the different places in our environment that water travels, making a fun beaded bracelet along the way. They also learn that while when those of us here in the middle of Minnesota want a glass of water we go to the sink, turn on the faucet, and fill our glass with fresh, clean water, that is not the case for millions of people in other parts of the world, where most often children and women walk a couple miles each day to collect the water their household will use for the day.
Older Eco Campers wade a little deeper in water issues with activities like Poison Pump, an activity where campers play detective and try to find the source of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854. They also learn about the impacts of pollution in our water on fish and other aquatic life as they journey upstream with Freddy the Fish. For hands-on fun, they are given a polluted “lake” and an assortment of materials to choose from to best clean up the pollution.
5th-6th Grade Eco Campers using clues to figure out the source of the cholera outbreak in Poison Pump.
Campers also get to experience the joy that water can bring. 1st-6th grade camper travels to a nearby lake for swimming, kayaking, and fun in the sun. Our oldest group also fashions their own fishing reels out of pop cans then tries their hand at catching fish at the dam in town.
After all, why would anyone be compelled to conserve and protect our water if they’re not seeing all of the ways in which it benefits them?