Saturday, February 22, 2014

Infographics and the Water Crisis

Table Etiquette Infographic

For about a year now, I have been enamored with the infographic.  I absolutely love these visual displays of information.  If you aren't familiar with the infographic, have a little fun today - Google the term and see what you find.  Then, Google it with the name of a topic, like 'shark' and 'infographic'.   I guarantee you will will find yourself lost in a visual feast of engaging facts, many of which you should know, and many that are unnecessary, yet fun.  One of the many things I like about the infographic is its ability to condense what would be large amounts of text into reasonable chunks of words and illustrations.  It makes learning fun!

The Secret Life of Drinking Water

While designing our persuasive writing unit, I kept this in mind.  One of my goals was to get students engaged deeply in a topic that they hadn't necessarily given significant thought to before.  Since infographics about table etiquette and the snowy owl captivated me every time, I figured it might work with the kids.  For this particular exercise, I chose water; something we regularly take for granted.  I shared four different infographics that I wanted them to consider: How Much Water is Your Home Wasting?, The Miracle of Water, The Secret Life of Water, and Why Water Matters.  The kids were given a graphic organizer to pull out the main details of each, as well as to help them write summaries.  In partners, they analyzed, made judgements, and compiled the information.  Not surprisingly, like me, they were astounded by what they learned.  Did you know that every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related sickness?

The next step will be for the students to create a persuasive paragraph based on what they have learned.  I suspect that many will write impassioned pleas to change the world.  That's great!  While not everyone may have a realistic solution, they will still be practicing the art of argument.  In the future, I may even have them create their own infographics.  There are many great, free resources out there and the possibilities would be endless!



  1. Brad...I love these. I'd be happy to stop by the class and show them some of our work - and our new app MeterHero. Specifically designed for 6th graders to track and learn about water use.

    1. I'd love the opportunity to work with you on this, McGee. Mrs. Neuwirth, Mrs. Fultz, and I were thinking about making this a cross-curricular unit next year. I know that's a long way off, but would you consider helping us then?

    2. Absolutely. Would you be willing to pilot this year, so we can make sure we put our best foot forward next year? We are working on curricula, so having it in the hands of students helps us design better.