Future elementary teachers prepare to be agents of change with water video competition

Published May 9, 2017

First prize winners in the ISE 301 water video competition for Cambodia Water Crisis are  (L to R): Katie Knapp, Erica Ause, Alexa Brown and Morgan Denyes.

The results of a water video competition that included 25 entries submitted by teams of future elementary teachers as part of an integrated science education course (ISE 301) have been announced. Offered through MSU’s Center for Integrative Studies in General Science (CISGS), the course covers topics in earth science, life science and physical science that are explored through discussion, demonstrations, readings, presentations and field trips.

The videos, created as part of a water footprint project, focused on either local water quality or global water scarcity. Students followed a “Know-Care-Do!” philosophy in their videos, emphasizing relevant science concepts (Know) and engaging empathy (Care) in order to promote taking action on these issues (Do). 

The winners of the competition are:

  • First prize: Cambodia Water Crisis by Alexa Brown, Erica Ause, Morgan Denyes and Katie Knapp.
  • Second prize: Journey to Water by Hayley Crouchman, Olivia Fox, Maura Jones and Maggie Keech.
  • Third prize Prescription Pollution by Emily Crawford, Carley Hall and Mackenzie Smith.

“These students are focusing on the science that really matters in making decisions about everyday activities,” said Jane Rice, a science education specialist with the MSU Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and an instructional team leader for the course. “And the funded competition shows how much the university values their future role as agents of change in the K-8 classroom.”

“Participating in this video project gave me perspective about how different my relationship with water is compared with people in other parts of the world,” reflected Erica Ause, a first prize team winner. 

Her team member, Morgan Denyes, envisions using the “Know-Care-Do” approach to societal issues in her future elementary classroom.

“I feel that in order to get students to make a difference, they must care enough to do so,” Denyes said. “By teaching students about the issue and giving them enough knowledge to engage them, they are more likely to want to make a difference.”

Second prize winner Olivia Fox is already taking action.

“The project made an impact on my life so much so that my roommates and I sat down and had a talk about how we could save water around the house,” Fox said.

Honorable mention awards were given to Flint Water Crisis by Christina Haggerty and Maya Randall, and to A Deeper Look into the Flint Water Crisis by Claire Wieson, Alyson Weeda, Jenny Willerer, and Abbey Barrett.

Three Judge’s Choice awards were also announced: A Sea of Troubles: Plastics in the Ocean by Natalie Zielinski; Make our Great Lakes Clean Again by Olivia Kraeuter, Kristin Hanzek, Danny Mogill and Meghan Mossing; and Water Pollution from Household Cleaning Products  by Lauren Trolz, Laura Cosentino, Jessie Livingston, and Elise Pothoven.

Judges for the competition were drawn from MSU’s Water Research Institute, College of Natural Science, Office of the Provost and the Department of Teacher Education.

To view the first place water video and learn more about the project, visit the CISGS water footprint webpage at https://cisgs.natsci.msu.edu/integrated-science-education/projects/water-footprint/.

The competition was funded by the Harry A. and Margaret D. Towsley Foundation and supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture.

For more information, contact Jane Rice at rice@msu.edu.