My Photoshop is on the blink for some reason since my last post, which makes posting a tad difficult since visuals are integral to my site descriptions. But it occurred to me today (insert lightbulb cartoon here) that I could still talk about sites which do not have much of visual interest anyway. I can always insert the one mandatory photo later.
So, ScH2Ools. [The word would not look so very awkward if I knew how to make the '2' into a subscript - you'll just have to look at the site to find how it looks!] This is the website of Schools Water Portal which is "a section under the India Water Portal, an open, inclusive, web-based platform, for sharing water management knowledge amongst practitioners and the general public. It is a voluntary effort co-ordinated by" Bangalore based "Arghyam, a non-profit trust which works in the area of water". This means:
1. The site is run by people who truly care about the issue
2. You can contribute to it too if you want
3. It is India centric, bringing stories about Indian rivers, teaching about our resources
What is the site about? Basically about water - its properties, its behaviour, its conservation, but in a format useful for teaching children. The site is very well designed - a simple easy to load format so necessary for the uncertain web connections here, a clean uncluttered look, easily navigable and fully functional links! (Compare that with some of the Indian government sites!) I am particularly impressed by the duplicate menus - one of the left side and the other on the top, which means you just can't be confused, and the very helpful 'will-open-in-new-tab/window sign for the links which do so.
The section for teachers has powerpoint presentations to use in schools, stories about various Indian rivers to start your talks with, fact sheets about water and rivers, fun science activities, animations and images, and even ideas games and puzzles to play in the classroom. This alone makes it a veritable treasure trove, not only for the teacher but for parents who wish to educate their children. For example, think about what this data tells you -
Percentage distribution of water on Earth
Oceans - 97.2
Ice-caps - 02.0
Groundwater - 00.62
Fresh water lakes - 00.009
Inland seas and salt lakes - 00.008
Atmosphere - 00.001
Rivers - 00.0001
Total - 99.8381
Instead now, get your child to start with 2.2 l of water representing the whole of earth's water in a large container. From this, remove 12 spoonfuls of water into a smaller bowl - this is all the fresh water we have. From this again, 2 spoonfuls for ground water, half a spoonful for fresh water lakes and one drop for rivers. The water left in the large container is in the oceans, and the water left in the smaller one, is in icebergs - so this last collection of 2 and a half spoons is what we can use. Much more effective way of getting the point across, especially for a child, don't you think? This is just one of the activities on the site. Check them all out!
In addition to these activities and experiments, the student section further gives out water related projects, working models and movies. Bet you don't know how to make a working water pump with two straws! (If you are one of those rare species on earth you do, please don't tell me!). Or from one. I haven't checked all of these, but majority if not all of these models, appear to be from Arvind Gupta's site, which I had featured earlier here.
Also, for those interested in actually doing something at their schools (or homes), here is a section for Principals! It provides handy tools like power point presentations, water usage or savings calculators and step by step guides for water audit and harvesting. Librarians can take help of the listed book and films to add some to their domain as well. Stumped for ideas still? The water week section has quizzes, plays, jingles, haikus, debates, ads and guest lectures for you to be inspired by.
The url - http://schools.indiawaterportal.org/
PS - To summarize, an excellent resource for teaching children all about water. Although it is India based (a rarity in the online world of resources), its resources are for universal use. I know there are no games here - but my own priorities have been changing since I started this blog, and an excellent resource like this I couldn't pass up! Thanks to Pratham for introducing me!
PPS - Photos will be added as soon as I can get Photoshop working! Also, I am going to be taking a real life vacation (hurray!), so no more posts till next month :)