About Project Water Education for Teachers (WET)
Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is an exciting multidisciplinary water education program for educators working with young people in grades K-12. ProjectWET resources are invaluable for supplementing already existing curricula and programs dealing with water and water-related issues. This program is designed for formal and non-formal educators and is especially useful to public and private school teachers, pre-service faculty and students, park and museum naturalists, youth organization leaders, resource agency educators, preschool and daycare teachers and home educators.
History of Project WET
Project WET is a nonprofit water education program for educators and young people, headquartered at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. The original WET program was established in 1984 by the North Dakota State Water Commission. In 1989, Project WET was invited by Montana State University—with funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation—to duplicate the North Dakota program in Montana, Idaho, and later, Arizona. The success of this pilot multi-state initiative led to a decision to develop a national Project WET program.
The national WET program was developed in 1990. To initiate the national program, national field tests and expert review were conducted by science educators and program evaluators from the Western Michigan University Center for Science Education and Science and Mathematics Program Improvement. The evaluation consisted of a two-step process: 1) gathering information from classroom educators, nonformal educators and recognized experts and practitioners regarding the appropriateness, "teachability," and accuracy of the field test versions of the activities and 2) compiling and analyzing data.
The Project WET staff began development of the Guide by conducting writing workshops from September 1992 to April 1993. Over 300 educators, resource managers and specialists from all fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and Canada were selected by their peers to participate in one of eight regional workshops. These educators met and generated more than 500 multidisciplinary activities based on concepts they considered critical for inclusion in a water education curriculum.
Ideas and activities created by the writing workshop participants were consolidated and organized according to the curriculum framework, and refined by Project WET staff. After preliminary drafts were edited and proofread, the activities were field-tested in a variety of classrooms and other educational settings while also being reviewed by recognized content experts and practitioners from many fields. In all, 399 teachers and 63 nonformal educators involved approximately 34,000 students in field-testing and reviewing the Project WET activities.
In 1991, the Council for Environmental Education joined Montana’s Watercourse as co-sponsor of the WET program. In 1997, WET’s international program was launched. WET U.S.A. is now sponsored in all 50 states while there are international programs in Canada, the Northern Marianas Islands and Mexico.
Nebraska is one of the most recent states to join the Project WET family. University of Nebraska’s Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development and the School of Natural Resource Sciences are the official sponsors of Project WET in Nebraska. The Bureau of Reclamation has generously provided funding to operate Project WET in our state. It is our goal to make WET material and training accessible to educators throughout Nebraska.
Project WET Goal
The goal of Project WET is to facilitate and promote the awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through the development and dissemination of classroom ready teaching aids and the establishment of state and internationally sponsored Project WET programs.
Project WET is grounded in the beliefs that:
- Water moves through living and nonliving systems and binds them together in a complex web of life.
- Water of sufficient quality and quantity is important for all water users (energy producers, farmers and ranchers, fish and wildlife, manufacturers, recreationists, rural and urban dwellers).
- Sustainable water management is crucial for providing tomorrow's children with social and economic stability in a healthy environment.
- Awareness of and respect for water resources can encourage a personal, lifelong commitment of responsibility and positive community participation.
Project WET Curriculum
The Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guideis a collection of more than 90 innovative, water-related educational activities designed to supplement already existing lesson plans. Project WET materials were developed, field-tested and reviewed by over 600 educators and resource managers working with 34,000 students nationwide.
The Project WET Curriculum and Activity Guide address seven core content areas including:
- Water has unique physical and chemical characteristics.
- Water is essential for all life to exist.
- Water connects all earth systems.
- Water is a natural resource.
- Water resources are managed.
- Water resources exist within social contexts.
- Water resources exist within cultural contexts.
Project WET Activities
Project WET activities cover a diverse range of subjects including the sciences, language arts, social studies, history, geography, mathematics, art, music, special education, and civics lessons. The activities emphasize large and small group learning, whole body activities, laboratory investigation, discussion of local and global topics, and involvement in community service projects. WET activities promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills and help provide young people with the knowledge and experience they will need to make informed decisions regarding the environment. They are "classroom friendly"--and require minimal preparation to be included in lesson plans. Using WET, students can...
- Solve water mysteries
- Settle water disputes in "Water Court"
- Create their own rainstick or mini-erupting geyser
- Attempt to put an ecosystem back together
- Compete in Water Olympics
- Become a thunderstorm
- Journey through time and space as a water molecule