Upper Canada College Form 3 students have been part of an “all-encompassing learning activity” that’s taken place in their “Rights and Responsibilities” unit of inquiry and physical education and math classes.
The boys had a hands-on experience at UCC’s Norval Outdoor Education Centre that taught them further lessons while providing them with a physical workout when they recently took part in a “water walk.”
Wernham West Centre for Learning Primary coordinator Tina Jagdeo was involved in a similar walk with local Maasai people from their settlement to the Mara River in Kenya as part of a trip involving Free the Children during last year’s Christmas holiday break. Her valuable experience inspired the program’s adoption by UCC.
“We investigated UNICEF’s Rights of the Child,” says Form 3 teacher Carly Crippin. “We chose water, as it was one of the basic survival rights.”
The boys have learned about people who don’t have easy access to clean drinking water and must walk long distances each day to get it. To give them an idea of what this is like, they were asked to walk a kilometre to the Credit River, calculate how many litres of water they could carry in containers, and walk them back.
“The emphasis was not on how much boys could carry, but instead carrying it the entire one-kilometre distance,” says Crippin.
“The vessels the boys carried held 22 litres. That is slightly less than 50 pounds. Most carried about one-quarter of the capacity. When they completed their kilometre, they poured their water into a communal bucket. The emphasis was on collaboration and not individual achievement.”
Organizing the water walk was a collaborative effort involving Crippin, Form 3 teacher Mark Ferley, associate teachers Michaela Trelford and Andrea Russell, and Jagdeo. Teacher Brent Evans helped with the planning and logistics at Norval.
Crippin says the boys made wonderful connections to their earlier classroom discussions and came to appreciate how lucky they are not to have to do that heavy slogging on a daily basis.
The boys have signed on with environmentalist David Suzuki’s Blue Dot movement to recognize every Canadian’s right to live in a healthy environment, and they’re looking at ways to take further action to aid and promote the cause.