The new permanent Water gallery is just one part of a larger water project at the museum. The Education department is participating by developing new programming and collaborating with teachers across the country to create new learning resources. “Water in our Lives” is the name of a new school program developed for the grade 2 level that will be offered starting in September. In this program, students learn about water in all its different forms on earth, the water cycle, what people use water for and how much of it we use everyday. There is also a fun experiment on the surface tension of water that is sure to leave an impression on the students! First they will have to guess how many drops of water they think can fit on top of a penny before the water starts to spill over the edges, and then they actually get to do it to see how close their guesses were. (Spoiler alert: up to 30 drops of water will fit on top of a penny!) Many of the activities will be done in a take-home booklet, so the kids have a souvenir and are able to keep learning at home.
The Education department has also been developing some great teacher resources for grades 9-12. This is an online project that will be available shortly on the museum website (nature.ca) that includes lesson plans and flash animation that has never been used anywhere else before! One of the animation videos is based on a paper written by a scientist at the museum, and shows the invasion of Zebra Mussels in the Rideau River over the course of seven years. It shows how Zebra Mussels will attach to anything (even passing boats, locks, plants!) and eventually take over the river. Another flash animation video shows the formation of Arctic Ice, from the beginning where it’s nothing but calm water all the way to its final form. The development of this project was a collaboration between the Education and Research departments as well as the 3D lab, and promises to be very useful to teachers!