Workshop Wrap Up – MWKTK15

This year 33 schools put their hand up to create a workshop, video, main stage performance or Environmental Project Day activity for the 2015 Melbourne Water Kids Teaching Kids Conference. Anyone who has been involved in Kids Teaching Kids knows that you can’t throw a presentation together overnight; it takes many months of research, planning, prop making, trial and error, rehearsals, editing, and of course fun! It may be hard work, but teachers consistently tell us about how much their students gain from going through the process of developing a presentation. In addition to the educational benefits, students show an increase in self confidence, team work skills and assists them in becoming resilient as they will undoubtedly have to deal with things not going right the first time. The sense of pride and achievement that we see in every presenting group is priceless and why we keep doing what we do.

The Kids Teaching Kids team has seen thousands of workshops over the last 16 years and we were really impressed with the overall quality this year.

While we loved them all, here is a snapshot of five that stood out for various reasons (you can read their workshop blurbs in the Conference brochure). You can also check out all the videos and main stage performances from this year on YouTube and more workshop highlights in the Photo Gallery.

Thanks to all the schools, teachers and students who presented in 2015 – without your hard work, we wouldn’t have a Conference!

workshops 4

1. Ballarat Christian College – We’ve Got Gas

Key message: Our everyday activities produce CO2 emissions and we all need to take steps to reduce this
The activities:
  • Matching up the amount of CO2 emissions with everyday appliances
  • Video showing the CO2 emissions produced by cars over time
  • Coming up with solutions to reduce personal CO2 emissions
The twist: The visual impact of creating a 50m carbon sausage to illustrate 1 tonne of CO2 emissions. The students had to work through all of the logistical issues with the sausage; initially this was to be a sphere but it wouldn’t fit in the room, so they had to do lots of calculations to work out other potential shapes and sizes that would fit. We liked that these students decided to take on the challenge of representing CO2 emissions, and stuck to it even when it wasn’t as easy as initially thought.

2. St Louis de Montfort’s Primary School – Escape to Mars

Key message: Aquaponics is a method that can be used for food production
The activities:
  • Working in teams to build a model of an aquaponics set up
  • Water testing to ensure that the chemical balance is correct
  • Putting an aquaponics flow chart in order
The twist: These students had the added pressure of presenting their workshop outside at the Collingwood Children’s Farm and they did an amazing job despite having extra noise to content with, especially from a rooster during their introduction.They started their workshop with a play to set the scene – they had to escape Earth because humans had not looked after the planet. They had the St Louis Sustainability Superheroes and Siri (in the form of a giant iPhone) come to save the day with aquaponics. Drama at the start of a workshop is a great way to capture your audiences attention.

3. St Mary’s Primary School – Water, Water, Everywhere…

Key message: Water is essential to life and we need to make a plan to protect it for the future
The activities:
  • 3D creation of the water cycle
  • Supermarket experience to purchase goods with water credits
  • Problem solving to work out how much of a given amount of water is used in manufacturing, residential uses, agriculture and mining.
The twist: In the “supermarket” activity each student had a limited number of water credits to spend and had to consider embodied water when deciding what to buy. High priced items where those that were highly processed highlighting the ‘unseen’ water that students often do not think about. We liked this novel way to explore this difficult topic.

4. Corpus Christi Primary School – From the Playground to the Bay

Key message: Litter dropped at school will eventually end up in Port Phillip Bay
The activities:
  • Puzzle looking at the urban water cycle
  • Board game to show the positive and negative impacts that we have on the urban water cycle
  • Pull out sticks game where the audience had to stop the rubbish going down the ‘drain’
The twist: When the audience entered the workshop room they had the crawl through a tunnel to illustrate the ‘drain’ and to help set the scene. To enable all students to work to their strengths and to contribute to the workshop, one student produced a “workshop trailer” which was shown in the introduction. Like with drama, we liked how they drew their audience into the workshop and created a scene of intrigue at the beginning with the tunnel; the raincoat costumes also looked great!

5. Vermont Primary School – Worldwide Water Watchers

Key message: Water is essential to life but many people around the world do not have easy access to clean safe drinking water
The activities:
  • Treasure hunt to learn about the importance of water and global issues
  • Obstacle course highlighting that access to water is not equitable globally
  • Match up activity to determine the importance of water to our bodies and what happens when you don’t get enough
The twist: The aim of the obstacle course was to show that while in we can walk up to a tap and turn it on to get water in Australia, not everyone around the world is so lucky. While this was a fun activity for the audience, there was also a lot of incidental learning that happened for the presenters. Initially they wanted to have the audience carrying buckets of water; when the issues of wet carpet was highlighted they had to come up with an alternative. The students wanted to use water balloons, but had to undertake a variety of experiments to work out how full the could be to not break easily if they were dropped during the race.  We loved the problem solving skills and determination that these students showed.