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Educate. Empower. Act. The mission of Project WET is to reach children, parents, educators and communities of the world with water education. We invite you to join us in educating children about the most precious resource on the planet — water.
Development of the Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide was initially funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). Funding was received in 1991 and the first edition of the Guide was printed in 1995. With anticipated printing of the revised Guide in 2010, the first generation Guide will include 15 printings.
Project WET staff conducted writing workshops from September 1992 through April 1993. Over 300 educators, resource managers and specialists from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Canada were selected by their peers to participate in one of eight regional workshops.
Participants, called Crew Members, gathered at sites in:
Mindful of their states’ curriculum guidelines and local water issues, educators generated interdisciplinary activities based on concepts they considered critical for inclusion in a water education curriculum. Guided by the Project WET activity format, participants produced more than 500 activities.
Ideas and activities created by the writing workshop participants were consolidated and organized according to the curriculum framework and refined by Project WET staff.
Researchers gathered resources and contacted consultants in water resource management, natural and physical sciences and other content areas to supplement background information. During activity development, procedures were tested and activities analyzed for content.
After preliminary drafts were edited and proofread, activities were fieldtested.
Activities in the Guide were tested in a variety of classrooms and other educational settings and reviewed by recognized content experts and practitioners from many fields. Results were analyzed and the activities revised.
The national field test and expert review were conducted by science educators and program evaluators from the Western Michigan University Center for Science Education and Science and Mathematics Program Improvement (Kalamazoo, Michigan). Evaluation consisted of a two-step process:
Project WET staff applied the information to revise and strengthen the activities.
Participants in the field test and expert review included:
These reviewers came from 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Educators nationwide field tested 104 activities and provided feedback. Each fieldtester, called an Expedition Field Scout, participated in one of eight regional fieldtest workshops and received five lessons, appropriate to grade level, to conduct and evaluate.
Using a 20-item evaluation form, they responded to activity use, format and content, and effectiveness. A sample of teachers also asked students to evaluate selected activities.
Regional Fieldtest Coordinators organized the workshops, and distribution and retrieval of tested activities.
In all, 399 teachers field-tested the Project WET activities.
Sixty-three community educators also taught and reviewed Project WET activities.
In addition, three home-school educators fieldtested activities. The remaining informal educators represented a variety of city, state and national organizations. Many taught activities in classrooms, but several taught in less formal settings.
Project WET Crew Members (from the original writing teams), WREEC members, state Project WET coordinators and other environmental educators from across the U.S. also reviewed and provided feedback on the activities.
One hundred forty reviewers each completed between one and five activity feedback forms.
Content reviewers from universities, museums, government agencies and schools examined the content of the activities for accuracy and thoroughness and evaluated lesson procedures, graphics and resources.
Twenty-six experts received activities pertinent to their fields of study:
For several activities, K to 2 Options were written and reviewed. The K to 2 Options present alternate, more concrete approaches to concepts for kindergarten through second-grade students. Highly recommended K to 2 teachers were selected to review these options.
A final review was conducted by respected environmental and science educators from around the country to evaluate the cohesiveness and efficacy of the entire guide. Reviewers based their assessments on the needs of educators in specified categories, including:
Quantitative and qualitative data from 2,759 activity evaluation forms were compiled and analyzed.
From this information, 312 separate reports - three for each activity reviewed - were prepared, representing feedback from classroom teachers and informal educators, Crew Members and environmental education specialists. Additionally, 100 reports were prepared, based on student feedback.
Survey responses from the content and final reviewers were analyzed individually to evaluate and revise the activities to which they applied.
Results of the fieldtest were used to confirm or correct designated grade levels, subject areas and activity duration. Teachers’ responses and suggestions also were used to rewrite activities.
Special attention was given to concerns about safety, cultural bias, excessive time requirements or difficulty obtaining materials. Content reviews were used to fortify the accuracy of the background and conceptual information of the activities.
Following revision of the activities, objectives were checked to ensure each was addressed. Strategies were amended to reflect revised objectives.
A report of the field test and review is available from Project WET. Project WET staff continues to review and revise activities based on feedback from educators, students and others concerning usability of its activities.