Experiential education research at watershed locations and visits to science centers, such as to the San Marcos River (Aquarena) headwaters discovery center, provide exciting experiential learning opportunities for students.
Soon to be published research results by H2O project co-director, Andrew Sansom, show experiential education at the headwaters works for students and teachers.
Most students’ understanding of water increased after experiential learning at the headwaters.
Surveys supported by H2O Phase I, show teachers’ understanding of teaching about water and their connection to water increased after they led field trips to the headwaters. Nearly all teachers surveyed felt more aware of water issues after the experience.
H2O Phase I supported research shows 4 out of 5 teachers say they will seek opportunities to engage students in issues related to water and the environment using technology after experiencing headwaters learning center.
More critical to students, these same teachers overwhelmingly say what they learned at the headwaters will go into future lessons and activities they plan for students. Teachers were also positive about integrating new technology in education.
Further research shows these experiences are greatly enhanced by classroom preparation ahead and post experience class work afterward. Such pre and post exercises provide context to the experience, enhancing learning. So it is in a broader sense that the water experiences being developed by H2O must be placed into the context of a broader curricula on water to be most effective.
By extension H2O holds promise for a broad range of teachers, students, and advocates of higher attainment of students in the sciences. It is for these and many other reasons that H2O seeks working partnerships and networks to leverage funds
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H2O (Headwaters to Ocean) is a cooperative project sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University and funding partner, the Ewing Halsell Foundation which supports the project H2O. H2O is an experiential, technology-enhanced education program focused on water, from headwaters to the ocean (http://www.water-texas.org)