Waterwatch and Art: ‘Creating’ Space for Students to Understand Science and Connect with Waterways

By Sarah Crinall and Tobey Henry.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Learning experiences for the ‘head’ and the ‘heart’ are needed to enhance community understandings of natural systems and influence people’s lifestyle
choices and values toward more sustainable living (Lovett, 2006). With this approach to achieving the long term goal for ‘sustainability’ in mind, educators from Port Phillip and Westernport Waterwatch, Melbourne, Australia, incorporated art activities into hands-on scientific school activities for secondary and primary students. It was hoped that artistic components would assist with the explanation of scientific concepts (attending to the ‘head’); maintain students’ active interest in educational experiences; and create space for emotional connections to be made between students and waterways (attending to the ‘heart’) (Dungey, 1989 cited in Adcock and Ballantyne, 2007). Students were seen to focus, notice, interpret, converse, explore and enjoy scientific topics when art was incorporated into Waterwatch sessions. The authors recommend that educators endeavor to prioritise creativity and enjoyment in science classes. Future sessions might incorporate other areas of the creative arts such as music and drama into science experiences (Adcock and Ballantyne, 2007).

Keywords: Waterwatch, Sustainability Education, Artistic Process, Art, Science, Waterways, Connections, River Health, School Programs, Positive Learning Experiences

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.55-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.656MB).

Sarah Crinall

Werribee Plains Waterwatch Education Coordinator, Community Programs, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Sarah has a background in science and education. Sarah has worked with three Waterwatch regions in the Port Phillip and Westernport catchment, and currently coordinates the schools component of the Werribee Plains Waterwatch program. Sarah is developing a type of program for Werribee Plains that reflects her interest in art and creativity and her strong belief in student-centered learning.

Tobey Henry

North-East Melbourne Waterwatch Education Coordinator, Environment and Planning, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Tobey Henry has a background in education and science. She has taught at a secondary school and various environmental education organisations. She believes the process of creating art within the science curriculum can be an important tool for learning. Her current position as a Waterwatch Education Officer for the North East Melbourne region involves working primarily with schools to deliver the Waterwatch Program.


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