“You can teach almost anything with water,” says Channa Newman, Louisville Water Company’s Supervisor of Education.
Through the company’s educational programs, more than 30,000 students every year learn about a wide range of subjects, including science, social
studies, math, healthy living and local history.
Some of the students visit the WaterWorks Museum, but Louisville Water also annually provides educators who have classroom experience to visit local public, private and parochial schools. Throughout the company’s service area, the educators provide free water-related lessons that meet state guidelines and include hands-on activities and experiments designed to truly engage students. “Teachers tell me we provide a real-world connection to classroom learning and academic standards,” Newman says.
The company began offering the lessons in 2000 and now serves more than 110 elementary, middle and high schools every school year. Younger students learn about such topics as the importance of hand washing and hydration. The curriculum for older students includes such subjects as filtration, ground water, and force and motion—as well as global water issues.
Louisville Water also offers an online hub for the programs called TappersFunZone(link is external). Many schools participate because Louisville Water’s programs not only emphasize core content but also explain the importance of water to the community’s past, present and future. “We help students understand that the water utility and water in general are part of our community,” Newman says.
She adds that Louisville Water will work closely with schools to customize the programs, and the company’s efforts often complement a broader course of studies and activities. For instance, Portland Elementary, which offers an environmental education magnet program, has worked with Louisville Water for several years. Portland participates in the in-class lesson program and in field experiences with the company’s educators at Blackacre State Nature Preserve.