Kids About Water (KAW) Program

The KAW Program is a five-lesson water quality issues and actions curriculum that targets students in grades 6-12 classrooms and other education organizations. Each lesson is aligned with the Kansas Next Generation Science Standards. For the past three years, Friends of the Kaw’s educational staff has presented the KAW Project to over 40 classes per year reaching over 1000 Kansas students.  The program is supported by both national and local environmental education grants. If a community youth group or school classroom teacher is interested in this program please contact our Education Coordinator, Denise Kidder at denise.kidder@kansasriver.org or call 913.548.8594.

KAWS Virtual Classroom (link below):

Teacher, Student & Volunteer Materials (password required)

Note to Teachers: These materials were created with you and your
students in mind. They are not to be shared with other educators
or individuals without permission granted by Friends of the Kaw.
Thank-you for your cooperation.

Lesson 1- Introduction to Watersheds: Students learn about their local watersheds and identify the watershed in which their school is located. They participate in an activity that targets the “horizontal water cycle,” i.e. how stormwater, drinking water, waste water, and ground water are connected. Students identify how impervious surfaces, agricultural runoff, and other human activities contribute to water pollution problems and how these problems become issues. The concept of Best Management Practices (BMPs) is introduced and examples of how they are used to mitigate water quality issues are given.

Lessons 2 and 3- Field Testing: Students participate in two days of hands-on, data-generating water quality lessons at a water site. Small groups of students rotate through a set of activities that include: non-chemical tests (air and water temperature, turbidity, conductivity and pH); chemical tests (phosphates, nitrates, coliform bacteria); dissolved oxygen; and seining and identifying macro invertebrates. Each activity includes a data collection component and all collection protocols are followed. Adult mentors are recruited to assist students with the field activities.

Lesson 4- Data Analysis: Data collected from each field activity is analyzed to determine the overall condition of the water site. Connections are made on how runoff volumes and stream flow might impact pollutant levels and how that, in turn, might impact the quality and quantity of macros (water quality indicators) found there. Based on the analyzed data, students generate a list of water quality problems and issues associated with the tested water and discuss appropriate BMPs that could be used to improve water quality.

Lesson 5- Project Based Learning/Action Plan: Students participate in discussions on the connections between a problem and an issue and how issues develop around solutions to a problem. Problems and issues relating to water quality, energy consumption, climate change, and public health are targeted. Students produce a list of problems related to the water quality data collected in lessons 2 and 3. Working in small groups, students choose a problem from the list, identify an associated issue, design a BMP to address the problem, and generate a list of implementation obstacles. Each group gives a short presentation explaining their plan.