Sixth grade teachers and students recently turned the study of Ancient Egypt and the significance of the Nile River into a deeper discovery about rivers, their significance, and the impact of Atlanta’s own Chattahoochee River.
After learning that the Nile River, the longest river in the world greatly impacts its surrounding population, students launched a design thinking project. Focusing on the big idea of ‘river usage’ and applying this knowledge to the river in their own backyard, students discovered the Chattahoochee River has an equally large impact on Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
Utilizing all of the disciplines (literature, grammar/composition, social studies, math and science) classes focused on current issues regarding river usage. Using the DEEP process of design thinking, students:
- Discovered: Investigated ways we use our rivers (Agriculture/Irrigation, Drinking Water, Power, Recreation, Transportation/Navigation, Waste Water) and applied this to the Chattahoochee and Nile Rivers
- Empathized: Understood the impact of water usage to identify conflicting needs on surrounding populations (The Buford Dam on the Chattahoochee River and the Aswan Dam on the Nile River)
- Experimented: Brainstormed ideas to address these conflicts by surveying Middle School students and charting their perceptions
- Produced: Applied ideas to this situation analysis by recommending solutions to the governing bodies of the river systems
As a result of the river project, one student shared, “I will never see the river the same.” Another commented, “I drive over that river every day, and I never realized its importance on our community.”