What I Learned from Running Environmental Twister at the York Children’s Water Festival

The 19th Annual York Children’s Water Festival took place from May 15, 2017 to May 19, 2017. For the past 19 years, the York Children’s Water Festival has invited 4th Grade students from all over York Region to learn about water conservation, protection, and stewardship, as well as different water-related environmental issues. The festival featured many creative activities that were both fun and promoted interactive learning such as, “Water-opoly”, W”ater Jeopardy”, “Flower Power”, “Down the Sewer” to name a few. This year’s York Children’s Water Festival was held at Bruce Mills Conservation Area in Stouffville, Ontario. I attended the festival to help facilitate the activity called “Environmental Twister”.

Environmental Twister is very similar to the original Twister, except with a bit of a twist. In Environmental Twister, there are eight columns of 4 different circles, with each of the circles representing one of the four basic survival needs. The blue circle represented water, the red circle represented food, the green circle represented air, and the yellow circle represented shelter. Students were told to put their hands and feet on each of the circles, so each student started off with four. After the students were ready the game started. My partner and I read out environmental statements, such as “An oil tanker crashed into the shore, polluting the water with millions of liters of oil.” After an environmental statement, we would start to take away one to three circles from the entire group, which made it difficult for some students to remain balanced on their remaining circles. The idea is to demonstrate how each environmental disaster disrupts our ecosystem and literally upsets the balance of life.

Eventually, students started going down from the original four circles to three, two, one or even zero circles. At the end of the game, the student with the most circles left won. After, we held a short discussion with the students, asking them questions like “What have you learned?” and “What did you notice happened when we started to take away your cards?”. Students learned about how human actions are damaging the environment and how they can prevent further damage re-thinking their actions. Having taken part in the York Children’s Water Festival, I’m ready to do my part in the conservation, protection, and stewardship of our water – are you?

 

To learn more about the York Children’s Water Festival held by the Children’s Water Educational Council, please visit: http://www.cwec.ca/

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