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“Keeping Water Renewable” Lesson Plan Receives National Award

A screenshot showing a cartoon animation of two students talking. Off to the right side, large text states, "What makes water renewable, and how can we keep it that way?"
The Keeping Water Renewable lesson begins with an inquiry animation to engage students in the topic. Credit: PBS NC

This year’s APEX Awards for Publication Excellence have honored Keeping Water Renewable: 5E Lesson, a free, standards-aligned lesson on renewable water for middle and high school students.

The 35th annual APEX national awards program cited the Keeping Water Renewable lesson as one of three recipients in the Campaigns, Programs & Plans – Education & Training category.

The Keeping Water Renewable lesson was developed by Christy Perrin of North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute and North Carolina Sea Grant, Paula Edelson of PBS North Carolina, Lauren Daniel of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and Beth Snoke Harris of NC Inquiry Collaborative Network, with funding from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the Pulitzer Center.

“A recent study showed that 85% of water cycle depictions leave out human interaction completely! We created this lesson plan to provide activities that educators could use to refresh their teaching about water, and to prepare middle or high school students to think critically about how our water is used and managed in a changing climate.” explains Christy Perrin, sustainable waters and communities coordinator.

Through multiple interactive components, the blended lesson provides a thorough explanation of the water cycle, including how climate change and human interference affect water quality and availability. It contains enough material for 10 to 12 class periods and includes an animation, “Keeping Water Renewable,” an interactive depiction of “The REAL Water Cycle,” and a short documentary from PBS Learning Media, Resisting The Flood, featuring Princesville, North Carolina’s approach to combating flooding. The lesson is available at no cost on the PBS Learning Media website

In 2021, the team received an APEX Grand Award for the Watershed Wisdom 5E Lesson for grades 3-5.